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Pediatr Dent. 2010 Sep-Oct;32(5):400-6.

Rural Latino farmworker fathers' understanding of children's oral health.

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  • 1School of Dentistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.



This study's purpose was to examine rural Latino fathers' understanding of their children's oral health.


A convenience sample (n=20) of fathers from a small agricultural community in California was recruited door-to-door and interviewed in their homes. Individual qualitative interviews in Spanish were conducted. Interviews were audiotaped, translated, and transcribed. Codes were developed, and the text was analyzed for recurrent themes.


Fathers came from Mexico (n=15) and El Salvador (n=5). Fathers had very little understanding of the etiology and clinical signs of dental caries. Overall, 18 of 19 fathers reported that their wife was primarily responsible for taking care of the children's hygiene. Fathers agreed that children's teeth should be taken care of from a young age, considered to be after 2 years. The fathers described very minimal hygiene assistance given to children by either parent and often considered a verbal reminder to be sufficient assistance. Fathers generally thought a child did not need supervision after approximately age 4 (range=1-11 years).


While rural Latino fathers might not actively participate in their children's oral hygiene, they do place value on it. Men are supportive of dental treatments, albeit later than recommended. Educational messages aimed at these families will disseminate to the fathers, indirectly.

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