Christine Cress

Date of Award

Fall 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy

Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 139 p.) : ill.


Females -- Dental care -- Attitudes, Women with social disabilities -- Dental care, Dental health education, Women -- Dental care -- Risk factors, Substance abuse -- Health aspects




A self-perpetuating cycle of poor health literacy and poor oral health knowledge and behavior affects approximately 90 million people in the United States, most especially those from low-income groups and other at-risk populations such as those with addiction. Poor oral health can result from lack of access to regular preventive dental appointments, lack of access to restorative care when dental diseases are treatable, and low oral health knowledge that leads to poor oral health self-care behaviors. In addition, patients' dental anxiety can impede care, because highly anxious people often avoid dental appointments. To address these issues, this inquiry examined oral health knowledge, attitudes toward oral health, and levels of dental anxiety among women in two residential chemical dependency treatment programs. Participants engaged in oral health intervention sessions to determine possible efficacy of the educational intervention. Results indicate positive outcomes in increases in oral health knowledge and behavior. The frequency of high-to-severe dental anxiety is much higher in this sample than in the general population. Implications are discussed, including use of economically efficient small-group oral health education training.

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