A controlled, longitudinal study of home visits compared to telephone contacts to prevent early childhood caries

Plonka, Kathryn A., Pukallus, Margaret L., Barnett, Adrian G., Holcombe, Trevor F., Walsh, Laurence J., & Swow, W. Kim (2013) A controlled, longitudinal study of home visits compared to telephone contacts to prevent early childhood caries. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 23(1), pp. 23-31.

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Home visits (HV) provide excellent opportunities for health promotion.


This longitudinal study compared the effects of HV and telephone contacts (TC) in preventing early childhood caries (ECC) and colonisation of mutans streptococci (MS) and lactobacilli (LB) from 0 to 24 months.


A total of 325 children were recruited from community health centres at mean age of 42 days, and randomly assigned to receive either HV or TC. A total of 188 children completed three, 6 monthly HV, and another 58 had three, 6 monthly TC. An additional 40 age-matched children from childcare facilities served as reference controls (RC). At 24 months, all groups were examined at a community dental clinic.


At 24 months, three HV children of 188 (1.5%) had caries, compared to four TC of 58 (6.8%) and nine RC of 40 (22.5%) (P < 0.001 for HV versus RC; P = 0.05 for HV versus TC and P = 0.03 for TC versus RC). There were also more children with MS in the TC (47%) and RC (35%) compared to HV (28%) group (P = 0.01 and P = 0.02).


Home visits and telephone contacts conducted 6 monthly from birth are effective in reducing ECC prevalence by 24 months.

Impact and interest:

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12 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 53384
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: early childhood caries
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-263X.2011.01219.x
ISSN: 1365-263X (online) 0960-7439 (print)
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > DENTISTRY (110500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The Authors, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, BSPD, IAPD and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Deposited On: 29 Aug 2012 22:44
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2013 02:49

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