The Rural Dental Health Program: Long‐term Impact of Two Dental Delivery Systems on Children's Oral Health

Cecile A. Feldman, J. Marvin Bentley, Jacqueline Oler

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7 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the long‐term effect of two dental delivery systems established during the Rural Dental Health Program (RDHP) in 1975. At that time 725 children in grades K‐2 were assigned randomly to an enriched dental health education program or regular health education program and to a SCHOOL‐or COMMUNITY‐based dental delivery system. Seven years after funding for RDHP ended, children originally assigned to the COMMUNITY group utilized more professional services and showed a higher level of dental knowledge than children assigned to the SCHOOL group. In addition, COMMUNITY‐based children had, on average, twice as many sealed teeth. While the follow‐up study did not reveal any statistically significant difference in the clinical oral health indices (DMFS, gingival index, calculus index, plaque index, periodontal probing depth, and orthodontic treatment priority index) the COMMUNITY‐based children's higher level of professional dental service utilization, greater number of sealed teeth, and increased dental knowledge should lead to a higher level of oral health in the long run.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health Dentistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • children's oral health
  • delivery of dental care
  • dental health education
  • public health dentistry
  • school dentistry


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