To empirically test a multilevel conceptual model of children’s oral health incorporating 22 domains of children’s oral health across four levels: child, family, neighborhood and state.
The 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health, a module of the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, is a nationally representative telephone survey of caregivers of children.
We examined child-, family-, neighborhood-, and state-level factors influencing parent’s report of children’s oral health using a multilevel logistic regression model, estimated for 26 736 children ages 1–5 years.
Factors operating at all four levels were associated with the likelihood that parents rated their children’s oral health as fair or poor, although most significant correlates are represented at the child or family level. Of 22 domains identified in our conceptual model, 15 domains contained factors significantly associated with young children’s oral health. At the state level, access to fluoridated water was significantly associated with favorable oral health for children.
Our results suggest that efforts to understand or improve children’s oral health should consider a multilevel approach that goes beyond solely child-level factors.