Preventing baby bottle tooth decay: eight-year results.


Baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD) is a preventable dental disease that affects more than 50% of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children. A community-oriented program to prevent BBTD was implemented in 12 AI/AN communities in 1986. In 1989, the overall prevalence of BBTD for the 12 sites combined decreased from 57% to 43% which represented a 25% reduction. Funding for the formal program was discontinued in 1990. In 1994, the Indian Health Service Dental and Head Start Programs funded an assessment of the current prevalence of BBTD and the level of program implementation at the original 12 sites. At the 5 sites where one-to-one counseling and community-based educational activities had continued, BBTD prevalence was reduced by 38% over the 8-year period. The success of the BBTD prevention program was demonstrated by the 3-year and 8-year evaluations. At each site that discontinued the program, BBTD prevalence increased.