Oral Health

Name of Project

Sweet Smiles

Lead Local Health District

Northern NSW

Research Project

The project aims to reduce sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) intake among children 0-18 YO by targeting parents of children using Northern NSW Local Health District Oral Health Services (NNSWLHD OHS).

We are evaluating the effect of implementing brief interventions (BI) during dental appointments provided in NNSWLHD OHS on children’s intake of sugar sweetened beverages. Reducing SSB drinking has been shown to result in sustained weight reduction and tooth decay. Secondary questions are whether BIs will result in referrals to the NSW Health Go4Fun service. To achieve these, we also evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of measuring height and weight and discussing sweet drinks during dental appointments for both clinicians and parents. The effect of the intervention on the decayed missing filled surfaces (dmfs/DMFS) scores, for deciduous and permanent teeth respectively, would also be assessed.

Mixed methods have been deployed to conduct the research.

Findings so far indicate that measuring children’s height and weight and conducting brief interventions in routine dental appointments have added 9 minutes to such appointments. COHS has created a new service item based on this finding. The intervention has been acceptable to parents and to participating Dental Therapists. Baseline quantitative data collection was completed in August 2018 and follow-up data will be collected till July 2019.

The project is a collaboration between NNSW Oral Health and Health Promotion Services with representatives from the NSW Ministry of Health and Centre of Oral Health Strategy (COHS) on the steering group.

Project Lead:

Dr Avigdor Zask   avigdor.zask@health.nsw.gov.au