The influence of parents' educational level in children's oral health behavior

André Ardérius, Nélio Veiga, Maria Godinho, Cláudia Ribeiro

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Abstract

Introduction: The impact of oral health in people's quality of life has received an increasing attention by health professionals. The prevalence of oral pathologies and the lack of simple, affordable and effective preventive measures led the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw ambitious goals based on oral health promotion and prevention. Prevention should begin, preferentially, within the family aggregate and continue at school, in order to teach children and adolescents adequate oral health behaviors. Objective: Assessment children’s oral health status and analyze the association of their oral health behaviors with their parents' educational level. Participants and Methods: We conducted an epidemiological, observational, cross-sectional study in a sample of children from nursery and primary schools in Nelas, Portugal. Data was collected by the application of questionnaires to parents about their children oral health behaviors and the household’s oral hygiene habits and an intra-oral examination was accomplished to assess the decayed, missing and filled deciduous tooth index (dmft index) and the prevalence of fissure sealants. Data collection was performed by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0). For the analysis of the continuous variables we used measures of central tendency (mean) and dispersion measures (standard deviation). Prevalence was express as proportions (percentages). In order to test the variables' independence, it was used the Pearson's chi-square test and the Fisher's Exact Test, using a significance level of 5% (p=0.05). Results: Data was collected from 499 children aged between 3 and 11 years old. Four variables were significantly associated with the parents' educational level: toothbrushing frequency (p=0.015) toothbrushing duration (p=0.018) parental help during toothbrushing (p=0.012) and the frequency of dental appointments during the last twelve months (p=0.012). According to the data collection of the intraoral observation, we verified a mean dmft of 2.06 with a standard deviation of ± 2.36 and a mean fissure sealants of 1.1 ± 1.55. As for dmft index and the number of fissure sealants we have not found a statistically significant association with parents´educational level. Conclusions: The parents’ educational is associated with the oral health behaviors developed by their children. This can be justified by the fact that a higher level of education permits the acquisition of higher levels of knowledge and information about healthier daily habits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-31
Number of pages4
JournalPublic Health Research
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Oral health
  • Quality of life
  • Parents' educational level

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