European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 76–82 | Cite as

Parental knowledge, attitudes and cultural beliefs regarding oral health and dental care of preschool

  • N. ChhabraEmail author
  • A. Chhabra
Scientific Article


AIM: Preschool children are dependent upon their parents for their dental care. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and beliefs of parents towards oral health and dental care of their children aged 1–4 years in an Indian population. METHODS: Parents of 620 preschool children, who visited Krishna Dental College and Hospital, Ghaziabad, India for dental treatment were recruited into this study and completed a self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: It was revealed that the lack of knowledge and awareness of importance of the primary teeth, dental fear of the parents and the myths associated with dental treatment, created barriers to early preventive dental care of preschool children. The oral hygiene and feeding practices were found to be disappointing and the knowledge about the essential role of fluoride and transmission of Streptococcus mutans bacteria was found to be limited. The elders in the family, especially grandparents, highly influenced the decisions of the parents regarding dental treatment of their children. CONCLUSIONS: Parents’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the importance of dental health need to be improved. Coordinated efforts by paediatricians, paediatric dentists and other health professionals are required to impart dental health education about oral hygiene, feeding practices, importance of the primary dentition and to promote preventive dental programmes.

Key words

Preschool children parental attitudes knowledge cultural beliefs oral health 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adair PM, Pine CM, Burnside G et al. Familial and cultural perceptions and beliefs of oral hygiene and dietary practices among ethnically and socioeconomical diverse groups. Community Dent Health 2004; 21:102–111.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Clinical guidelines on infant oral health care. 2011 OralHealthCare.pdf.
  3. Blinkhorn AS. Dental preventive advice for pregnant and nursing mothers — sociological implications. Int Dent J 1981; 31:14–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Davies GM, Worthington HV, Ellwood RP et al. A randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of providing free fluoride toothpaste from the age of 12 months on reducing caries in 5–6 year old children. Community Dent Health 2002; 19:131–136.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Davies MJ, Spencer AJ, Slade GD. Trends in dental caries experience of school children in Australia — 1977 to 1993. Aust Dent J 1997; 42:389–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Finlayson TL, Siefert K, Ismail AI et al. Reliability and validity of brief measures of oral health-related knowledge, fatalism, and self-efficacy in mothers of African American children. Pediatr Dent 2005; 27:422–428.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Green W, Kreuter M. Health promotion planning: an educational and ecological approach. 3rd edn. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub. Co., 1999.Google Scholar
  8. Grewal N, Kaur M. Status of oral health awareness in Indian children as compared to Western children: A thought provoking situation. J Indian Soc Pedo Prev Dent 2007; 25:15–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Habibian M, Roberts G, Lawson M et al. Dietary habits and dental health over the first 18 months of life. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2001; 29:239–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hallonsten AL, Wendt LK, Mejare I et al. Dental caries and prolonged breastfeeding in 18-month-old Swedish children. Int J Paediatr Dent 1995; 5:149–155.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harrison R, White L. A community-based approach to infant and child oral health promotion in a British Columbia First Nations community. Can J Community Dent 1997; 12:7–14.Google Scholar
  12. Harrison RL, Wong T. An oral health promotion program for an urban minority population of preschool children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2003; 31:392–399.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hilton IV, Stephen S, Barker JC et al. Cultural factors and children’s oral health care: a qualitative study of carers of young children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2007; 35:429–438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Holm AK. Caries in the preschool child: International trends. J Dent 1990; 18:291–295.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lin HC, Wong MC, Wang ZJ et al. Oral health knowledge, attitude and practices of Chinese adults. J Dent Res 2001; 80:1466–1470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mattila ML, Rautava P, Sillanpaa M et al. Caries in five-year-old children and associations with family related factors. J Dent Res 2000; 79:875–881.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Milgrom P, Fiset L, Melnick S et al. The prevalence and practice management consequences of dental fear in a major US city. J Am Dent Assoc 1988; 116:641–647.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Mohebbi SZ, Virtanen JI, Murtomaa H et al. Mothers as facilitators of oral hygiene in early childhood. Int J Pediatric Dent. 2008; 18:48–55.Google Scholar
  19. Newbrun E. Preventing Dental Caries: Breaking the chain of transmission. J Am Dent Assoc 1992; 123:55–59.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Okada M, Kawamura M, Kaihara Y et al. Influence of parents’ oral health behaviour on oral health status of their school children: an exploratory study employing a causal modelling technique. Int J Paediatr Dent 2002; 12:101–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Peterson PE, Aleksejuniene J, Christensen LB et al. Oral health behavior and attitudes of adults in Lithuania. Acta Odontol Scand 2000; 58:243–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pine CM, Adair PM, Nicoll AD et al. International comparisons of health inequalities in childhood dental caries. Community Dent Health 2004; 21:121–130.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Riedy CA, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. An ethnographic study for understanding children’s oral health in a multi-cultural community. Int Dent J 2001; 51:305–312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sakai VT, Oliveira TM, Silva TC et al. Knowledge and attitude of parents or caretakers regarding transmissibility of caries disease. J Appl Oral Sci 2008; 16:150–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schroth RJ, Brothwell DJ, Moffatt MEK. Caregiver knowledge and attitudes of preschool oral health and early childhood caries (ECC). Int J Circumpolar Health 2007; 66:153–167.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Stenberg P, Hakansson J, Akerman S. Attitudes to dental health and care among 20 to 25-year-old Swedes: results from a questionnaire. Acta Odontol Scand 2000; 58:102–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Suresh BS, Ravishankar TL, Chaitra TR et al. Mother’s knowledge about preschool child’s oral health. J Indian Soc Pedo Prev Dent 2010; 28:282–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weinstein P, Harrison R, Benton T. Motivating parents to prevent caries in their young children: one year findings. J Am Dent Assoc 2004; 135:731–738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Winter GB. Caries in the preschool child. J Dent 1990; 18:325–326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wong D, Spiess SP, Julliard K. Attitudes of chinese parents toward the oral health of their children with caries: A qualitative study. Pediatric Dentistry 2005; 27:505–512.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Adis International 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PedodonticsKrishna Dental CollegeGhaziabad, Uttar PradeshIndia
  2. 2.Department of Dental SurgerySafdarjang HospitalDelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations