Methods: This study was limited to the ages of newborns through kindergarten, approximately 5 years of age. Survey questionnaires were distributed to daycare centers and the Head Start programs throughout the Indianapolis area. The data gathered from the questionnaires addressed 1) the types of food consumed by children at school 2) any oral hygiene program implemented in the setting to teach children about tooth brushing and 3) advice on avoiding the consumption of cariogenic foods.
Results: Using a Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test for the age comparison, and Fisher's Exact Tests for all of the other comparisons; the statistically significant differences were: Head Start children were older, with a higher % of tooth cleaning, and a lower % of vegetables consumed as snacks, a higher % of chocolate milk drunk, but a lower % of birthday/class celebrations.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the diets of children attending Head Start vs. other child day care centers are statistically similar. This study was supported by Indiana University School of Dentistry.
Keywords: Cariology, Children, Diet, Learning and Oral hygiene