511 Parental-perceived Oral Health Associated with children’s Oral Health Behaviors

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
L. HONG, T. HOTTEL, and H. MARIAM, Pediatric and Community Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
Objective: The study was to assess the association between children’s oral health behaviors and parental perception of child’s oral health among 2-4 years old children.

Method: 243 children, 2-4 years old, were recruited from daycare centers and preschools. A structured questionnaire was answered by child’s parents regarding socio-demographics, parental perception of child’s oral health status, oral health home care, and dental visit behaviors. The relationships between parental perception of child’s oral health and children oral health behaviors were assessed.


The subjects were 54% girls, 60% were white, and 70% were from families with annual household income <$60,000. 76% parents reported that their children’s teeth were in very good or good condition (vs 16% fair and 8% poor oral health). Perceived specific problems included tooth decay (9%), crooked teeth (16%), tooth discoloration (8%), broken tooth (3%), tooth pain (3%), and gum bleeding when brushing (2%). Compared to children whose parents reported fair or poor child’s oral health, children whose parents reported very good or good child’s oral health had more frequent toothbrushing (66% vs 47% twice daily, p=0.03), more use of dental floss (23% vs 11%, p=0.04), more use of mouthrinse (32% vs 25%, p=0.03). They were also more likely to have a family dentist (75% vs 38%, p<0.01), make dental visit in last year (64% vs 36%, p<0.01), use preventive dental services among those who made dental visit (96% vs 85%, p=0.01). However, there was no significant different in percentage of children having dental insurance (86% vs 76%, p=0.12).

Conclusion: Parents’ perception of their children oral health is related to the children’s both home and professional oral health care behaviors. Studies on the underlying causes are needed.

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source: Reach Healthcare Foundation, 07-001-SG-OH-MU

Keywords: Behavioral science