Disparities in Oral Health among School-Aged Children in Kansas


Background: The effects of age, rural-urban geographic location, and percentage of Free and Reduced Price Meal Program (FRPMP) participation on children’s oral health outcome measures (untreated decay, treated decay, and sealants) have not been fully explored in Kansas. Methods: The current study utilized a surveillance sample of 140,217 children (grades K through 12) attending 200 schools in Kansas, which requested screening assistance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) from 2012 to 2013. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify significant factors associated with oral health outcome measures. Results: Older children were associated with decreased odds of having untreated decay, and increased odds of having treated decay and sealants. Children attending very rural schools had increased odds of untreated and treated decay and decreased odds of presence of sealants. For every 5% increase in the school-level %FRPMP, the odds of having untreated and treated decay increased by 5% and 3%, respectively. However, %FRPMP was not statistically associated with the presence of sealants. Conclusions: Children attending schools in very rural and rural areas appear to have worse oral health outcomes, as measured by higher proportions of untreated and treated decay, and a smaller proportion of presence of sealants.

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Dong, F. , Ablah, E. , Hines, R. , Lazar, A. and Johnston, J. (2015) Disparities in Oral Health among School-Aged Children in Kansas. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 291-298. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.56032.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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