Article Text

  1. S. Bergman
  1. University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Purpose of Study Many Walla Walla Farm Labor Camp residents are not following through with daily fluoride treatment and regular dental visits for their children. Knowledge about basic oral health is lacking in the community. As part of a community medicine project, teaching materials were developed in Spanish and distributed to the community to address this problem.

Methods A MEDLINE search identified variables contributing to poor oral health in Hispanic and farm labor populations. Local oral health experts and farm workers were interviewed. A curriculum was designed that addressed common misperceptions among farm labor residents. Topics included “The Relationship between Sugar and Caries,” “The Value of Baby Teeth,” “How Fluoride Works,” and “Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.” Teaching tools were developed to address these topics, including the “Azucar Board,” a display of popular beverages and their corresponding sugar content.

Results Teaching tools were presented in Spanish to migrant Head Start parents and teachers, as well as youth ages 5-17, through the Children's Home Society. Questions and comments from participants at the meetings indicated that curricular themes were on target. Response to the presentations was enthusiastic, with commitments from the Head Start educators to use the materials again. Teaching tools were donated to Walla Walla Public Health Department for future use.

Conclusion Farm labor residents were receptive to culturally appropriate educational material about oral health. Further research will be necessary to track retention and any correlation with future investment in children's oral health.

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