• Early childhood caries;
  • oral health programmes;
  • Alaska Natives

This paper briefly describes a dental intervention within the Alaska Native population to reduce early childhood dental disease, the challenges faced in conducting the research, and the lessons learned. The American Indian/Alaska Native populations share a disproportionate burden of childhood dental disease compared to their majority counterparts. Despite the gains in oral health for the general population not all groups have equally benefited. Even recently, severe dental disease was found within >60% of young Alaska Native children. There have been few intervention studies to reduce dental disease in Alaska Natives or their children. One study aimed at reducing dental disease in very young children via an intervention directed at the pregnant woman. Several challenges, anticipated and unanticipated, were faced in the development and conduct of the intervention. These challenges and the resulting lessons learned are presented here.