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Community Dent Health. 2015 Jun;32(2):98-103.

The association between parents' perceived social norms for toothbrushing and the frequency with which they report brushing their child's teeth.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether parents' judgements on how often other parents brush their children's teeth are associated with the frequency with which they brush their own children's teeth, and their satisfaction with their child's brushing routine.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional questionnaire survey completed by 297 parents of children aged 3-6. Parents were asked how often they brushed their own child's teeth per week, how often they thought other parents did so, and how satisfied they were with their child's toothbrushing routine. Demographic data were also collected.

RESULTS:

The mean frequency that parents brushed their children's teeth was 12.5 times per week. Multiple regression analysis tested the relationship between parents' perceptions of other parents brushing frequency (mean 10.5 times per week) and how often they brushed their own child's teeth, controlling for socio-demographic factors, and yielded a positive association (p < 0.001). There was a positive association between parents' satisfaction with their child's brushing routine and the extent to which they thought it was better than that of the average child (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Parents' judgements on how frequently other parents brush their children's teeth are associated with their own behaviour and satisfaction. Re-framing oral health messages to include some form of social normative information ("most parents do this") may prove more persuasive than simple prescriptive advice ("you should do this").

PMID:
26263603
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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