Abstract

Objectives

To determine parental awareness about their child’s oral hygiene and its associated factors.

Methods

In this cross-sectional study, 396 parents and their 3- to 6-year-old children were selected by randomized cluster sampling from Shiraz kindergartens in 2013. Parents completed a questionnaire on their perception of their child’s oral hygiene. The children received a dental examination, and their dental cleaning status was determined using Simplified Debris Index. Parental awareness was determined by comparing parents’ perception of their child’s oral hygiene with the results of the dental examination. Associations between demographic factors and parental awareness were evaluated.

Results

Sixty per cent of the parents were aware of their child’s teeth cleaning status. Higher percentage of parents with university degree (P < 0.001) and parents whose child did not have a previous dental visit (P < 0.001) were aware. Also, more aware mothers were employed compared with homemakers (P = 0.002). Children of aware parents had lower dmft (P < 0.001) and better oral hygiene (P = 0.001) than those of unaware parents. Parents who perceived overall oral health status of their child as good (P < 0.001) as well as those who believed that their child did not have any cavities (P < 0.001) were more likely to be aware of their child’s teeth cleaning than those who perceived otherwise.

Conclusion

Many parents were not aware of their child’s oral hygiene. Educational interventions should be provided to young families to increase parental knowledge and skills that help them recognize their child’s dental needs. The interventions are more necessary for low socioeconomic parents and for the parents of children with poor oral hygiene.

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