Publication Date



Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis


This brief presents the results from a field experiment that tested strategies for improving parental participation in an oral health promotion workshop.

In this study, daycare centers, in which a team of dental hygienists provided oral health workshops for parents, were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions.

Specifically, daycare centers were randomly assigned to introduce the Teeth Brushing Board (TBB)—i.e., an interactive poster board to report whether parents brushed their child’s teeth the previous day—into daycare classrooms in the two weeks before the oral health workshop. Further, parents were randomly assigned to receive invitation letters to the workshop with different messages (neutral, negative accountability, or positive accountability).

The evidence shows that 41.3% of parents attended the oral health workshop, with none of the interventions significantly changing parents’ attendance rates relative to the control condition (i.e., neutral letter, no interactive board).

Research Brief 21-01

Document Type

Research Brief

Original Citation

Marciano, D., Tikotsky, A., Kynan Orenstein, M. Goldberg, H., & Vered, Y. (2021). Nudging Parents to Improve Children’s Oral Health: A Field Study. (SPI Research Brief No. 21-01). Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis.



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