Low-income Latino children in the United States experience high rates of severe and untreated tooth decay. For these children, tooth decay significantly predicts lasting physical, psychosocial, and personal and societal economic consequences. The factors contributing to poor oral health outcomes include caregivers’ lack of knowledge and skills to prevent early childhood tooth decay and access oral health care services.
KDHRC developed Dientes Fuertes, Vida Sana (DFVS) as a culturally competent training program to prevent early childhood tooth decay. DFVS prepares promotores de salud (community health workers) to build Latino caregivers’ oral health literacy and health care system navigation skills.
KDHRC conducted a feasibility evaluation of the DFVS prototype with promotores de salud at two evaluation sites in San Antonio, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. Promotores exposed to the DFVS program demonstrated improved knowledge about tooth decay prevention, greater confidence to explain the signs and causes of tooth decay to parents, and greater intentions to conduct tooth decay prevention outreach in their communities.
“I learned so much that I feel confident to share not only with clients, but also with my family and friends.”
“Very informative tools for us, promotoras, to conduct outreach to our community. Thank you so much.”
“This is important information, both for our personal lives, and to share with our communities.”
“The training was very interesting. I learned things I didn’t know and it was fun too. Thank you for the information, and for this project to help our children and community.”
In Fall 2018, KDHRC will launch the full program including a website from which community-based organizations can download Training and Implementation Guides and stream video content.
KDHRC will conduct a rigorous outcome evaluation of the full program starting in Spring 2018. We will publish findings from the outcome evaluation in research briefs and peer-reviewed journals.