Off-campus Eastern Washington University users: To download EWU Only theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your EWU NetID and password.

Non-EWU users: Please talk to your local librarian about requesting this thesis through Interlibrary loan.

Date of Award

Spring 2018


Access perpetually restricted to EWU users with an active EWU NetID

Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene


Purpose: This study explored the impact of an oral health care training program on caregivers’ knowledge of the oral-systemic link and confidence in the provision of oral health care for individuals with DD.

Methods: This study used a mixed-methods design with a convenience sample comprised of 11 (N=11) licensed caregivers of developmental disabled employed by Mission Vista in Wenatchee, Washington. A one-group pre-test/post-test design measured the impact of an oral health curriculum on licensed caregivers’ oral hygiene knowledge and confidence in the provision of care to individuals with disabilities. Quantitative measures included the use of descriptive and inferential statistics to describe demographic data and to analyze pre-test and post-test data. Qualitative data was collected to assess caregivers concerns of their client’s oral health and assess knowledge of how to report oral health concerns. Qualitative data was also collected and assessed on how the training changed their own oral health habits.

Results: Results showed a significant improvement in post-test scores compared to pre-test scores measuring confidence, (p =.025). Ninety percent of participants, (n=10) indicated they would take a more active role in providing oral health care to their client and they were very confident in evaluating their client’s oral health.

Conclusion: An educational intervention program is an effective strategy for caregivers of individuals with DD to increase knowledge on the oral-systemic-link while also increasing confidence in providing oral health care. Thus, demonstrating that oral health services can be provided on a daily basis to individuals with DD could improve oral and systemic health.