Open Access Online OnlyOral HealthDOI: 10.3290/j.ohpd.a43357, PubMed ID (PMID): 32618448Pages 245-252, Language: English
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