900 Survey Measuring Absences Related to Toothaches: The SMART Survey

Friday, March 23, 2012: 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
T.M. PERKINS, Clinical Affairs - School of Dentistry, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, V.L. WINSTON, Department of Epidemiolgy and Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS, and I. PERKINS, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Objective: :   Self reported measures of oral health status have been shown to be associated with clinical dental needs, and have been confirmed as an independent predictor of overall health.  The purpose of the S.M.A.R.T.  (Survey Measuring Absences Related to Toothaches) survey was to measure the impact of dental toothache pain on school attendance of Jackson Mississippi  school children. 

Method: The S.M.A.R.T. survey was administered to parents of school-aged children attending programs in the Jackson Mississippi metropolitan area.   The survey gathered demographic data,  including age, sex,  and school  attended.  Questions included:    does child have a toothbrush;  does child complain of toothaches;   has child missed school because of  toothache;  does child have  a dental home;  has child had a dental visit in the last 6 months;  if not, why.  There was also a question regarding if the parent would be in favor of a dental program within the child’s school.  The surveys were tabulated and statistically analyzed to report associations between the different variables. We used a Chi-square analysis to test for differences between age,  grade,  and sex of students.

Result: 292 survey forms were tabulated and statistically analyzed.  Surveys were  divided into three age groups.   87% of parents reported that their child had missed a school day during the previous school year due solely to toothache pain.  91% of parents reported that their child had suffered from a toothache during the previous school year.  A surprising result was that 62% of parents admitted that their child did not have a toothbrush.  The 9 to 11 age group was most likely to have seen the dentist in the last 6 months.

Conclusion: The S.M.A.R.T. survey concurs with the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, that children have absences of school days that can be attributed to dental toothache pain. 


This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source: The Health Network at Family Word Ministry (FWM) Jackson, Mississippi

Keywords: Children, Epidemiology, Health services research, Pain and Teeth
See more of: Oral Hygiene Care
See more of: Oral Health Research