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Principal Investigators: Francisco Ramos-Gomez (UCLA) and Robert Jones (University of Minnesota)
UCLA CTSI and University of Minnesota Cross-Institutional Award Projects
The overall goal of our study is to develop an integrated care plan that effectively addresses the shared risk factors of early childhood dental decay, early childhood cavities (ECC) and obesity. It encourages parents of disadvantaged and of minority backgrounds to adopt broad self-management goals and overall comprehensive health-promoting habits. There is a pressing need for community-based participatory early intervention approaches to prevent both early childhood dental decay and obesity at a younger age. Within the recent healthcare environment, oral health (dentistry) may play an important role within the whole community approach to obesity prevention as an entry point for discussing diet and nutrition early on. Some key reasons for the importance of oral health integration into obesity prevention is that children’s oral health diseases share key risk factors with early obesity. In our study, the Infant Oral health visit promotes dietary guidance early in childhood, and oral health promotion is done in a culturally manner, which we use to discuss other broad health-promoting habits. Our immediate goal utilizes a university and community-based team to improve the ability to predict future dental decay in children and integrate oral health risk assessment with broad health-promoting habits that may one day prevent obesity in the key early years of the child development.