65 Perceived and Normative Dental Health Status of African Children

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Presentation Type: Oral Session
M. AMIN1, A. PEREZ1, M. REKABDAR2, M. SALEHYAR1, and I. KORNERUP1, 1Pediatric Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, 2Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Objective: The timely management of early childhood caries (ECC) demands early detection of the disease. The purpose of this study was to explore parental awareness, perceived identity, and ways of detecting ECC among recent African  immigrants.

Method: Participants were parents and their 3 to 6 year old children from different African communities who had lived in Canada for 10 years or less.  Data were collected through two validated questionnaires. Parents were asked about their child’s dental status, indicators of caries, and ways used to become aware of dental decays. A dental exam was performed for children in a community location. Parental awareness was determined by comparing children’s normative status (clinically measured dental health status) with parents’ perceived status.

Result: 76 parents and 110 children completed the study. The mean defs for children were 6.1   (±10). 50.7% of the children had never visited a dentist before; not having a dental problem was the main reason for 26%.  Parental checking was the preferred way of finding about children’s oral health (59%), followed by the child’s reference of discomfort (18.7 %), and professional check-up (18. %). Indicators used for identifying cavities were black spot (28.8 %), hole (16.4 %), and pain (10.5 %). The agreement between perceived and normative dental status was poor (< 0.20). Among parents who were not aware of their child’s dental status, 45.8% overestimate it, 26.3 % underestimate it, and 27.9 had no idea.  

Conclusion: Parental perception was not a reliable proxy of children’s dental status. Parents’ oral health literacy should be promoted, especially, regarding prevention and early detection of caries. Determinants of parental awareness and its role in perceived need for dental care and care-seeking behavior should be further explored.

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source: Prairie Metropolis Centre

Keywords: Assessment, Caries, Parental awareness and Pedodontics