Knowledge and behaviour of parents in relation to the oral and dental health of children aged 4–6 years
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To evaluate baseline knowledge and behaviour of parents with regard to the oral and dental health of their young children.
Following ethical approval, six urban and rural schools were identified. Questionnaires were distributed to the parents of pupils (children aged 4–6 years). The questionnaire included several questions evaluating parental knowledge and behaviour of oral and dental health issues in their children. Each question was assigned a score of either 0 or 1 being inconsistent or consistent with current paediatric guidelines giving a maximum score of 6 for knowledge and 7 for behaviour. Chi-square analysis was used to analyse associations among variables.
Parental knowledge varied widely among parents and across questions; however, 70.2 % of parents had scores greater than 3 (range 0–6). The majority of parents (65.8 %) also had scores greater than 3 (range 0–7) for behaviour. Deficiencies were noted in oral hygiene practices; very few parents brushed their child’s teeth and were not aware of the recommended age of the first dental visit at 1 year (Age 1 visit). Parents without free medical care demonstrated high levels of knowledge (P < 0.05). Almost half of the parents thought that the information available to them on the oral health of their young children was insufficient.
Parents appeared to have limited knowledge regarding the dental and oral health of their young children. This study indicates a need for improved education for parents, particularly in toothbrushing behaviour and use of toothpaste. Education strategies tailored to the Irish population should be explored.
KeywordsParents Health knowledge Attitudes and practices Dental care for children
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