Project Overview +

This project aims to develop a tailored behavior change expert system intervention to promote and maintain good oral health and prevent oral diseases among low-income area children and their caregivers.

Aims +

Aim 1. Design and produce a self-help, interactive, multimedia, state-of-the-science, tailored, theory-driven, behavior change expert system (ES) intervention to promote oral health and prevent oral diseases in caregivers and their young children.

Aim 2. Implement a pilot study to assess the feasibility and usability of the ES intervention and a comparison health information intervention in a sample of caregivers.

Aim 3. Evaluate longitudinally the efficacy of the interventions on achieving the 2010 Oral Health Objectives.

Aim 4. Examine the extent to which the clinical outcomes of this project are mediated by a) the affective, evaluative, and situational individual factors influenced by the tailored intervention or by b) broader psychosocial factors addressed in other projects of the Detroit Center for Research on Oral Health Disparities.

Participants +

994 African American caregivers of children age 2 to 7 living in Detroit.

Intervention +

Due to a number of unforeseen issues, this project was unable to be completed. Below is a brief description of the program and the development process that was being followed to build it.

The objective of this project is to generate and test the efficacy of a tailored behavioral intervention designed to help caregivers and their children adopt and maintain recommended dental care, oral hygiene, and dietary behaviors, including regular dental examinations based upon risk status, tooth brushing at least twice a day, daily flossing, and low sugar consumption.


  • Validate measures of stages of change, pros and cons, situational confidence, and processes of change for each of the recommended behaviors (brushing, flossing, getting dental exams, and eating less sugar).
  • Conduct 3 usability tests to determine a strong navigational, voice-over, and graphical design of the program.
  • Conduct a feasibility study on a prototype of the tailored program.
  • Complete a tailored program, untailored program, a tailored calendar, and an untailored calendar addressing the recommended oral health behaviors to be used in a larger efficacy study.

Findings +

Conclusion +