650 Clair Harris Road, Marietta, GA 30060

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Mahdiyeh Soltaninejad
(Advisor: Dr. Christina Scherrer)

will propose a doctoral thesis entitled,

Mathematical modeling for dental decay prevention in children and adolescents

Wednesday, August 30th at 1:00 PM
W. Clair Harris Textile Center, Room M135

The high prevalence of dental caries among children and adolescents, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, is a significant nationwide health concern. Early prevention, management, and treatment are essential. Dental sealants and fluoride varnish are the two most effective preventive oral health interventions, but their use remains limited and disparate.
The publicly available National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset will be utilized to assess sealants' reach and effectiveness in preventing tooth decay, particularly focusing on 2nd molars (2M) that emerge during early adolescence, a current gap in the knowledge base. Multivariable regression models will be employed to determine the role of 2M sealants in reducing dental caries and identifying factors influencing their adoption. To increase accessibility, delivering fluoride varnish (FV) during well-child visits is recommended since children are more likely to visit primary care providers than dentists. To investigate challenges associated with FV delivery in these settings, the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) will be applied to key informant interviews to identify opportunities for enhanced adoption. Mathematical modeling, using ordinary differential equations, will further evaluate FV’s potential impact and its cost-effectiveness in preventing and treating early-stage tooth decay. 
This research aims to offer valuable insights into dental healthcare strategies and decision-making processes. This comprehensive approach combines data analysis, multivariable regression modeling, implementation science, and mathematical modeling to effectively address these challenges. The ultimate goal is to improve dental health outcomes and ensure equitable access to preventive dental services for all children and adolescents.


  • Dr. Christina Scherrer – Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (advisor)
  • Dr. Robert Keyser– Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Dr. Lin Li– Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Dr. Shillpa Naavaal– School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Dr. Glenn Young - Department of Mathematics 

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