Document Type: Original Article(s)
Non-communicable Diseases Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
PhD Student, Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Public Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Parents have an important role in making decisions about their children's oral health problems and their awareness of children’s oral health status may affect their care-seeking behaviors. The aims of this study were to determine parental awareness about the presence and absence of dental caries in preschool children and factors associated with their awareness.METHODS: The participants of this cross-sectional study were 3 to 6-year-old children and their parents who were recruited from 10 randomly selected kindergartens in Shiraz, Iran. Normative and perceived caries status of the children was assessed through a dental examination and parental assessment, respectively. Parents' awareness was determined by comparing their perception of presence and absence of caries (perceived status) and the actual caries status of their child (normative status). Factors associated with parental awareness were determined using univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses.RESULTS: Among the 396 parents, who completed the questionnaire, 56% were aware of presence and 76% were aware of absence of caries. Awareness of presence was associated with children’s previous dental visit (P < 0.001) and experience of caries (P = 0.007). Parents who considered their child’s teeth unclean (P = 0.005) and their overall oral health status not good (P < 0.001) were more likely to be aware of presence of caries. Parents who perceived their child’s teeth clean (P = 0.030) and overall oral health status good (P < 0.001) were more likely to be aware of absence of caries.CONCLUSION: Many parents were not aware of the presence of dental caries, which may result in them deferring the seeking of care for their children. Having a dental visit increased parental awareness. Regular dental visits, therefore, should be promoted for young children for early detection of dental caries and to enhance parental awareness of children’s oral health condition.