A Simulation Model for Designing Effective Interventions in Early Childhood Caries

After initially working separately on the utilization of Systems Dynamics to create a simulation for designing effective interventions in early childhood caries (ECC), Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP) decided on a collaborative effort.  


Early Childhood Caries is an aggressive disease process leading to rapidly progressing tooth destruction in young children.  ECC is an infectious, fluoride-mediated, diet-dependent disease process that results in cavities.  It is predictive of lifelong caries. ECC is common, increasing and consequential.  Current management is surgical, which results in high cost, high stress, repair without protection against future risk.

Alternative Interventions:

1.  Primary Prevention

2.  Secondary Prevention/ Disease Control


Systems Dynamics (SD) is an approach to understanding the behavior of complex interactive systems over time by answering the “what if” question by accounting for multiple interdependent variables that interact over time.  SD allows comparisons and assessments of interventions and combinations of interventions to assess possible impacts.  It also utilizes disparate data sources to “fill in” knowledge gaps to make projections.  SD has been used extensively for health and healthcare.

To view this model in its entirety, please download the above PDF.

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Did you know?

Children with poor oral health were nearly 3x more likely to miss school due to dental pain.
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