Method: The S.M.A.R.T. survey was administered to parents of school-aged children attending programs in the Jackson Mississippi metropolitan area. The survey gathered demographic data, including age, sex, and school attended. Questions included: does child have a toothbrush; does child complain of toothaches; has child missed school because of toothache; does child have a dental home; has child had a dental visit in the last 6 months; if not, why. There was also a question regarding if the parent would be in favor of a dental program within the child’s school. The surveys were tabulated and statistically analyzed to report associations between the different variables. We used a Chi-square analysis to test for differences between age, grade, and sex of students.
Result: 292 survey forms were tabulated and statistically analyzed. Surveys were divided into three age groups. 87% of parents reported that their child had missed a school day during the previous school year due solely to toothache pain. 91% of parents reported that their child had suffered from a toothache during the previous school year. A surprising result was that 62% of parents admitted that their child did not have a toothbrush. The 9 to 11 age group was most likely to have seen the dentist in the last 6 months.
Conclusion: The S.M.A.R.T. survey concurs with the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, that children have absences of school days that can be attributed to dental toothache pain.
Keywords: Children, Epidemiology, Health services research, Pain and Teeth