BACKGROUND: A community-based public health program to provide a dental home for women covered by the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) in Klamath County, Oregon USA was instituted with the long-term goal to promote preventive oral care for both mothers and their new infants provided by dental managed care companies.
METHODS: As part of the evaluation of the program, children in Klamath and comparable non-program counties were examined in their 2nd year of life to begin to determine if benefits accrued to the offspring of the mothers in Klamath County.
RESULTS: Eighty-five and 58.9% of the children were caries free in the Klamath and comparison county samples, respectively (RR = 1.48, 95% CI 1.13, 1.93). The mean (SD) number of teeth with any decay was .75 (2.5) in the test population and 1.6 (2.5) in the comparison population (t = 2.08, p = .04).
CONCLUSIONS: The assessment showed that children of mothers in the Klamath County program were about one and a half times more likely to be caries free than children in the comparison counties. Additional controlled studies are being undertaken.