Use of a Focus Group of Chariton County Citizens to Investigate Opinions, Attitudes, and Recommendations for the Chariton County Oral Health Program

Whitney Trusty, Courtney Perrachione, Truman State University

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Abstract The purpose of this study was to conduct two focus groups to investigate the opinions, attitudes, and recommendations for improvement of the Oral Health Program in Chariton County, Missouri. A focus group interview guide included questions about each participant’s perceptions of the Chariton County Oral Health Program Initiative and how the program might be improved over time.
“Affordability” and “access” were repeatedly reported as important factors in whether or not a Chariton County citizen would seek oral healthcare. Chariton County faces challenges similar to those of other communities when attempting to incorporate a dental health program into the area.

Introduction Among the concerns with America’s children, tooth decay is the most prevalent and also the most treatable. Tooth decay affects people of all ages and directly affects the overall health of individuals. Over 108 million Americans lack dental insurance coverage, compared to 47 million Americans who lack health insurance (Fisher-Owens et al., 2008). Moreover, many of those with coverage do not receive dental care for reasons such as inability to pay out of pocket, lack of access to dental care, fear, and lack of understanding that oral health affects overall health. In order to decrease the prevalence of tooth decay, it is vital to provide appropriate access to dental care and to educate the public about its importance of dental care.

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