Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Allied Health

Document Type



Today, more children are diagnosed with Early Childhood Caries (ECC) than at any other time in modern history. It is noted that Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is now the most common infectious disease among children and occurs 5 times more than asthma (America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 2014). Considering the extent of this disease, it is imperative to determine the cause of it and factors involved in the control.

In order to begin this study, one must first analyze different patients and their living conditions, along with the frequency of dental visits and when the first dental visit occurred. What can be done to stop the growing incidence of ECC? To answer this question, an interview session will take place with forty parents of six-year-old children to gather demographic and background data. After a detailed interview with these parents, the researcher will discuss important home dental care tips and explain the importance of visiting a dentist as early as possible to ensure prevention of cavities or trauma. The results from the demographic questions will be compared to the results from the interview. Once a correlation is determined, the researcher will be able to interpret the findings for dissemination.

Based on the results, the average age for a child’s first dental visit was at the age of four. Age three was the age present that parents believed was the

appropriate age for a child’s first visit, as well as the average age of a child’s first dental visit with caries present. These results show that most parents are simply unaware of the fact that their child should visit the dentist by age one. Most parents thought ages three and up were better since the child understood more of what would be going on. Unfortunately at this age any decay present could have been prevented if the child had an evaluation at an earlier age. The parents would also be more informed on how to take care of their child’s teeth if they brought the child to visit the dentist right after the eruption of the first tooth. Prevention is key in promoting good oral health in children.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Lynn Austin


Dental Public Health and Education | Dentistry | Pediatric Dentistry and Pedodontics