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Medicina (Kaunas). 2009;45(9):718-23.

Associations between parental skills and their attitudes toward importance to develop good oral hygiene skills in their children.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eiveniu 4, 50009 Kaunas, Lithuania.



For many years, poor oral hygiene and frequent consumption of sugars is known as key behavioral risk factors for oral diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal disease. Parental attitudes toward children's oral health could be associated with their own oral health skills. We aimed to analyze associations between parental skills and attitudes toward caries development and possibilities to control positive oral health behavior in their children.


A cross-sectional study involved 550 parents of 3- to 4-year-old children. A 40-item questionnaire was developed from the Theory of Planned Behavior, Health Belief Model and the Health Locus of Control model, and parental attitudes toward dental caries in their children were analyzed.


A total of 397 filled-in questionnaires were collected; the response rate was 72%. Parents with good own oral hygiene skills significantly more often understood the importance of brushing their children's teeth (chi(2)=29.8; df=1; P<0.001). Study results highlighted also significant differences in importance to prevent tooth decay (chi(2)=3.1; df=1; P=0.051), importance to control sugar snacking (chi(2)=10.6; df=1; P=0.001), and parental perceived seriousness of tooth decay in children (chi(2)=9.2; df=1; P=0.002) comparing parents with poor and good oral hygiene skills. Differences in parental efficacy to control proper toothbrushing and parental efficacy to control sugar snacking in children were not significant comparing both groups.


More than half (61%) of the parents have reported appropriate own oral hygiene skills. Parental attitudes toward children's oral health were significantly associated with their own oral health behavior and understanding the importance of development of oral hygiene skills in their children.

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