Evaluation of a national complex oral health improvement programme: a population data linkage cohort study in Scotland

Kidd, J. B.R., McMahon, A. D. , Sherriff, A. , Gnich, W., Mahmoud, A., Macpherson, L. M.D. and Conway, D. I. (2020) Evaluation of a national complex oral health improvement programme: a population data linkage cohort study in Scotland. BMJ Open, 10(11), e038116. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038116)

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Objectives Child dental caries is a global public health challenge with high prevalence and wide inequalities. A complex public health programme (Childsmile) was established. We aimed to evaluate the reach of the programme and its impact on child oral health. Setting Education, health and community settings, Scotland-wide. Interventions Childsmile (national oral health improvement programme) interventions: nursery-based fluoride varnish applications (FVAs) and supervised daily toothbrushing, community-based Dental Health Support Worker (DHSW) contacts and primary care dental practice visits—delivered to the population via a proportionate universal approach. Participants: 50 379 children (mean age=5.5 years, SD=0.3) attending local authority schools (2014/2015). Design: Population-based individual child-level data on four Childsmile interventions linked to dental inspection survey data to form a longitudinal cohort. Logistic regression assessed intervention reach and the independent impact of each intervention on caries experience, adjusting for age, sex and area-based Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Outcome measures: Reach of the programme is defined as the percentage of children receiving each intervention at least once by SIMD fifth. Obvious dental caries experience (presence/absence) is defined as the presence of decay (into dentine), missing (extracted) due to decay or filled deciduous teeth. Results: 15 032 (29.8%) children had caries experience. The universal interventions had high population reach: nursery toothbrushing (89.1%), dental practice visits (70.5%). The targeted interventions strongly favoured children from the most deprived areas: DHSW contacts (SIMD 1: 29.5% vs SIMD 5: 7.7%), nursery FVAs (SIMD 1: 75.2% vs SIMD 5: 23.2%). Odds of caries experience were markedly lower among children participating in nursery toothbrushing (>3 years, adjusted OR (aOR)=0.60; 95% CI 0.55 to 0.66) and attending dental practice (≥6 visits, aOR=0.55; 95% CI 0.50 to 0.61). The findings were less clear for DHSW contacts. Nursery FVAs were not independently associated with caries experience. Conclusions: The universal interventions, nursery toothbrushing and regular dental practice visits were independently and most strongly associated with reduced odds of caries experience in the cohort, with nursery toothbrushing having the greatest impact among children in areas of high deprivation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Scottish Government as part of their funding of the evaluation programme of the Childsmile programme (Scottish Government Health Directorate—Evaluation of National Oral Health Improvement Programmes—2013–2016, 2016–2019).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gnich, Dr Wendy and Sherriff, Professor Andrea and Macpherson, Professor Lorna and Conway, Professor David and McMahon, Dr Alex and Mahmoud, Ahmed and Kidd, Dr Jamie
Authors: Kidd, J. B.R., McMahon, A. D., Sherriff, A., Gnich, W., Mahmoud, A., Macpherson, L. M.D., and Conway, D. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:BMJ Open
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2044-6055
Published Online:24 November 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMJ Open 10(11): e038116
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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