The aim of this study was to investigate whether parents can be matched with attitudes towards oral health by means of a short vignette sheet, developed based on the results of an earlier Q-methodological study. Furthermore, this study aims to explore how the attitudes associate with diet and oral hygiene habits and with clinical outcomes in children.
A total of 170 parents of 6- to 9-year-old children completed a questionnaire including the vignette sheet and clinical scores (oral hygiene, caries) were retrieved from the follow-up measurement of a RCT on caries-preventive measures.
Of the 170 respondents, 159 (93.5%) could be matched to a single best matching attitude. Respondents identified “well” to “very well” with at least one of the attitudes and seemed to be able to differentiate well the extent to which they matched to the different attitudes. Parents scoring high on different attitudes were found to be associated with different lifestyle patterns and clinical outcomes.
It was concluded that using a self-assessed attitude tool, derived from the results of a Q-methodological study, it is possible to identify different groups of parents with different oral health-related risk factors. Of course, it is hardly likely that people are 100% only 1 type of parent; parents can be considered to be a mix of different typologies. However, information on the composition of that mix may be helpful for the dental professional to estimate risks and to deliver a more tailored prevention strategy in children.