Evaluation of parents’ knowledge and attitudes about early childhood caries
Keywords:Dental caries, dental health survey, primary tooth, early childhood caries
Aim: Tooth decay is the world’s most common bacterial infection. Despite the existence of practices for preventing dental caries, early childhood caries (ECC) continue to be a health problem of global concern. The incidence of ECC may vary between societies depending on their cultural habits regarding infant feeding. This study aimed to evaluate parents’ attitudes about early childhood caries, to determine their ECC-causing misbehaviors, and to evaluate their knowledge about prevention and preventive treatments.
Methodology: The study was conducted among 150 participants and consisted of a cross-sectional survey tailored to the parents who applied to the clinic. Participation was completely voluntary, and parents who submitted a fully completed questionnaire and volunteered to participate in the study were included, whereas parents who did not wish to participate, did not answer at least one question, or were illiterate were excluded.
Results: 67.3% of the parents participating in the study were female (n=101) and 32.7% were male (n=49). In answering “yes” to the proposition “the bacteria that cause caries can be passed from mother/caregiver to child,” 36.7% of participants demonstrated correct knowledge of this matter. 42.7% of the participants believed that “the first sign of dental caries is white spots on the tooth surface.” In answering yes to the proposition “if early childhood caries is not treated, it can affect the general health and development of the child,” 79.3% demonstrated correct knowledge of this matter.
Conclusion: ECC’s risk determinants should be identified as early as possible, and the most appropriate preventive measures should be implemented rapidly with accurate information and on-site interventions.
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