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Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry



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Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), Open Access     12. Feb. 2020
Oral Health Prev Dent 18 (2020), Open Access  (12.02.2020)

Open Access ORAL HEALTH, Online Article, Page 245-252, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a43357, PubMed:32618448

Online Article: Oral Health Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour of Parents and Caregivers of Preschool Children: Implications for Oral Health Promotion
Naidu, Rahul S. / Nunn, June H.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of parents and caregivers of preschool children in order to inform an oral health promotion strategy.
Materials and Methods: A sample of parents and caregivers of children attending nine randomly selected preschools in central Trinidad were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire on early childhood oral health.
Results: A total of 309 parents and caregivers participated: 88% were female, 74.4% were of Indian ethnicity, with 50.4% in manual employment, and 50.2% educated to secondary level. 59.1% felt a child's first dental visit should be when all primary teeth are present. 64% had not taken their child for a dental visit. 81.6% rated their child's oral health as good or better and 28% would want an asymptomatic, decayed primary tooth extracted rather than filled. Over 80% used fluoride toothpaste. 52.8% always supervised their child's toothbrushing, and 44% claimed to be using the recommended pea-size amount. 26.2% reported having used a sweetened feeding bottle or infant feeder at night.
Conclusion: Parents and caregivers of preschool children in this sample had reasonable oral health knowledge. However, despite generally positive attitudes towards preventive oral healthcare, confusion regarding dental attendance, supervised toothbrushing, fluoride use and sugar intake suggests that these items require particular emphasis in oral health promotion programmes aimed at improving early childhood oral health.

Keywords: early childhood caries, parents, caregivers, oral health promotion