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J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2017 Mar-Apr;7(2):95-99. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_470_16. Epub 2017 Mar 29.

Infant and Child Oral Health Risk Status Correlated to Behavioral Habits of Parents or Caregivers: A Survey in Central Italy.

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Department of Oral and Maxillo-facial Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.



The aim of this survey was to evaluate the knowledge and awareness of parents and caregivers about potential oral health risk factors for their children in their first months of life (3-30 months).


The participation to the survey was proposed to all parents or caregivers of children attending the public consulting service in Latina for mandatory vaccinations during the period of June to August 2014. A self-administered questionnaire was completed to obtain information regarding demographic variables, infant feeding practice, maternal oral health during and after pregnancy, children's oral hygiene habits and risk behaviors (e.g., sharing cutlery, tasting of baby food, nightly using of baby bottles with sugared beverages, or sugared pacifier), and knowledge about caries and its transmission. The analysis of the data was performed using SPSS 14.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The variance analysis and chi-square test were used to investigate the relationship between the variables.


Overall, the parents of 304 children consented to fill the questionnaire. Data analysis showed that about 50% of respondents considered dental caries an infectious disease, however, 53.6% was not aware of the potential vertical transmissibility of cariogenic bacteria through contaminated saliva. It is a common trend in the early stages of weaning to taste the baby food (53%) and sharing cutlery (38.5%). With regard to children oral health care, parents reported no toothbrushing for 53.1% of the children in their first 3 years of life. The relationship between the two variables concerning caries transmissibility and tools sharing carried out on through Pearson chi-square test identified P = 0.32.


From this survey, the need for parental oral health promoting program emerged to control children oral health risk status.


Early childhood caries; infant and child oral health; mothers and caregivers behaviors; prevention

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