Welcome to ZOE!

Welcome to ZOE!

ZOE is a project designed to Zero Out all Early childhood tooth decay in children enrolled in Early Head Start (EHS) programs in North Carolina … thus the name Z-O-E . It builds on previous efforts in medical and dental offices to reduce tooth decay, and is funded by a 5-year grant (2008-2013) from the National Institutes of Health.

Why is ZOE important?

Tooth decay in young children, known as early childhood caries (ECC), is a national concern because of its widespread and increasing prevalence. We’ve all seen how it affects children from lower income families to a greater degree than it does other children. And we’ve seen its negative impact on the quality of life of these children and their families. North Carolina has led the way over the past 10 years in exploring innovative approaches to getting dental services to children. Into the Mouths of Babes (IMB) is a Medicaid program that reimburses physicians for providing preventive dental services to children 0-3 years of age. And our most recent effort, known as Carolina Dental Home, links medical and dental offices so that physicians can more easily refer children in need of treatment. ZOE adds an important community-based group of high-risk children to the efforts to reduce tooth decay in North Carolina.
ZOE Goals
  • Improve access to preventive dental services for EHS children
  • Improve the oral health of EHS children
  • Provide EHS staff training to meet new EHS performance standards for oral health
  • Provide EHS staff with access to on-going technical assistance on pediatric oral health issues
  • Provide evidence of effectiveness of dental interventions in EHS that can be extended to other early education and child care programs, including Head Start
  • Contribute to local economic development through employment of study interviewers and coordinators

ZOE partners

  • Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • School of Dentistry, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Oral Health Section of the North Carolina Division of Public Health
  • North Carolina Head Start-State Collaboration Office
  • North Carolina Early Head Start Programs
  • East Coast Migrant Head Start Program
  • North Carolina Pediatric Society
  • North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians
  • Division of Medical Assistance – Medicaid
  • North Carolina Dental Society
Operation of the ZOE project will be advised by the long-standing Early Childhood Oral Health Collaborative (ECOHC), which is made up of representatives from the ZOE partners listed above.


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Last updated March 27, 2013