Oral Health Knowledge and Practices of WIC Staff at Florida WIC Program
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This study was conducted to assess the oral health knowledge, practices and confidence of staff in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) by administering an anonymous self-completed survey to 39 WIC Clinic staff in Northern Florida. The survey instrument was a 28-item questionnaire adapted from previous validated surveys and covered questions on oral health knowledge, confidence and general practices related to oral health. Survey data were analyzed by descriptive statistics. The majority of WIC staff is knowledgeable about the role of the caregiver in cleaning the child’s teeth and the role of bottle use in dental caries. Only 7 (25 %) of total 28 WIC staff indicated that fluoridated toothpaste could be used for children younger than 2 years of age. Only 18 (64 %) agreed that the cariogenic bacteria could be transmitted from mother to child. Nutritionists reported greater confidence compared to others in oral health tasks. Only 6 (67 %) of the nutritionists reported to counsel caregivers on the importance of regular tooth brushing. Only 4 (44 %) nutritionists reported to refer WIC clients to dental care. These results indicate that WIC staff has a limited knowledge on the age recommendations for the fluoride toothpaste use and on the transmission of the cariogenic bacteria. Many do not provide oral health counseling to caregivers. WIC staff with more education is more likely to discuss oral health issues. WIC staff is in need for oral health training and education to provide oral health counseling for at risk WIC population.
KeywordsOral health Nutritionists Health knowledge Practice
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study protocol was approved by the University of Florida and Florida Department of Health Institutional Review Boards. All the participating subjects signed informed consent.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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