Infant Oral Health Education in Michigan Dental Hygiene Programs

Barbuscak, Sarah, Rebecca Cathey, Katherine Hanner, and Lindsey Respondek

As part of the dental team, hygienists have a significant role in promoting oral health in the prevention of oral diseases in infants and children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate didactic and clinical curricula of dental hygiene programs in Michigan regarding infant oral health (IOH).  An questionnaire was sent to all dental hygiene program directors in Michigan.  Questions were related to inclusion of IOH in the curriculum, methods and materials used for teaching, IOH topics being taught, clinical experiences, didactic hours, and obstacles that each program may experience with teaching IOH.   Findings showed that all programs teach IOH; 100% of the programs utilized lectures, 70% used videos, online presentations, community rotation and handouts. An average of  four didactic hours was devoted to IOH.  Only 30% of the directors reported that their hygiene students have experience in clinic patient care.  In addition, 44% of the directors considered their students competent upon graduation in providing infant oral health education.