Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Daryl Canham

Second Advisor

Virginia Young-Cureton


school based oral health programs, early childhood caries, dental caries, pediatric oral health


Pediatric dental disease is a silent epidemic (Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 2002). Dental decay is commonly unrecognized and under-treated. Dental disease can affect children's growth and development as well as their ability to perform in school. Effective interventions to prevent dental decay include water fluoridation, dental sealants, pediatric dental screenings, and dental health education programs. This pre-experimental design study evaluated the effectiveness of an oral health training program for school nurses. This training program was designed based on the First 5 California Oral Health Training Program, First Smiles (First Smiles Program of California, 2003). The presentation was given to a non-randomized sample of school nurses (N= 14). Pre and post test results indicated a statistically significant (p<.Ol) increase in oral health knowledge among the participants. As a result of this study the researchers recommend that school nurses receive formal training in dental health assessments to effectively contribute to the improvement of pediatric oral health in the school setting.