The dual purposes of the WIC Smiles" program are to:
1. Reduce the proportion of high-risk young children who have dental caries in the primary teeth and permanent teeth and
2. To promote early establishment of dental homes. We propose to accomplish these goals by performing oral health risk assessments and fluoride varnish prophylaxis at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sites across New York State. Such interventions have been proven to decrease rates of early childhood decay. Populations at increased risk for dental caries include those of low socioeconomic status (children who qualify for WIC), limited parental education, children who do not obtain regular dental care, and children without dental insurance or access to dental services. Almost half of all infants and one quarter of all children in New York participate in the WIC Program, so this paradigm targets high-risk children who are otherwise unlikely to establish a dental home. A pilot study led by the applicant at Albany Medical Center targeting children ages 6 months to 36 months using a physician-nurse model will begin this September and is already funded. The purpose of this grant is to allow for planning of similar projects throughout New York State. State level WIC administrators have demonstrated considerable interest in having preventive oral health services available for all clients statewide. This planning grant will allow us to investigate implementation options on a macro-level across the state. As there are a greater number of dentists available to provide dental homes for young children in New York City, this project will focus first on bringing prevention services to Upstate New York counties where dental access is the most restricted."
1. Plan for integration of oral health preventive services/fluoride varnish programs at WIC sites across New York State.
2. Understand the barriers and systems issues that may inhibit WIC programs from accepting and successfully implementing oral health preventive services at their sites.
3. Educate WIC and other health care personnel on the importance of proper oral hygiene, caries prevention, healthy eating, and early establishment of a dental home.