Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Jennifer Hutson


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Background. Allied health professionals can apply their unique scope of practice to educate and promote oral health that best fits families’ daily habits, routines, and cultural practices (Anderson et al., 2020; Gold & Tomar, 2018; Iwao et al., 2019).

Purpose. The primary purpose of this capstone project was to increase family utilization of oral healthcare services and daily oral hygiene practices through cultivating positive oral health experiences for all children.

Approach. A child intake questionnaire and social story were created to prepare children for their dental exam, provide child-specific oral health education, and understand childrens’ oral health habits and dental experiences for children receiving dental services. Child-reported responses were evaluated using descriptive and categorical analysis to understand child dental experiences before and after their dental exam.

Outcomes. 378 children completed the child intake questionnaire. 68% of children served had poor oral hygiene, and 32% had fair to good oral hygiene. Children with fair to good oral hygiene reported slightly more positive oral health experiences when compared to children with poor oral hygiene.

Implications. Ready, Set, Smile’s interdisciplinary team should further evaluate the impact of various educational methods and mindfulness activities on child dental experiences. For example, do children who receive oral health education prior to their dental exam report more positive oral health experiences compared to children who did not receive education?