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Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry



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Oral Health Prev Dent 14 (2016), No. 6     12. Dec. 2016
Oral Health Prev Dent 14 (2016), No. 6  (12.12.2016)

Page 535-545, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a37139, PubMed:27957564

Parental Opinions on Children's Oral Health Counselling and Readiness to Change Health Habits
Arpalahti, Irma / Järvinen, Mirkka / Kommonen, Hanna-Mari / Tolvanen, Mimmi / Pienihäkkinen, Kaisu
Purpose: To study new programmes in health promotion of 6- to 36-month-old children included in the public dental service (PDS) of Vantaa and compare them with the previously used programme by assessing parents' opinions on the oral health counselling and their readiness to make changes in oral health habits. An additional aim was to study parents' readiness to change their child's health habits in relation to the child's MS colonisation, health habits and parents' education.
Materials and Methods: The subjects consisted of the parents of first-born children examined at age two (n = 647). The link to the study was e-mailed to the parents (n = 586) after their child's two-year visit. The dental professionals were trained to do plaque testing, observe dental decay and control the progression of caries lesions, utilise the oral health counselling programmes and deliver client-centered counselling. Data were statistically analysed using Pearson's Chi-Square and logistic regression.
Results: The response rate was 68%. In the opinion of 91% of the respondents, the information received was at least somewhat useful. The respondents in the new programmes were more likely to report at least intending to change their own health habits (p = 0.032). There was, however, no programme-related difference in readiness for change their child's health habits. Respondents who made/intend to make changes reported a lower level of education and their children were more likely to have had positive MS scores compared to children whose parents reported having made no changes.
Conclusions: It may be possible to promote beneficial habits by delivering oral health counselling to parents, who would thus serve as better role models for their children. The findings indicate that the changes occurred in the families who needed it most.

Keywords: children, counselling, family-based, health habits, oral health promotion