Journal of Dental Research and Review

: 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 24--27

Knowledge and attitude of parents toward oral health maintenance and treatment modalities for their children

Pooja Bodhale1, Swati Karkare2, Shivaji Khedkar3,  
1 Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, M. G. Vidya Mandir Dental College and Hospital, Nashik, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pooja Bodhale
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra


Background and Aim: Parents have an important role in making decisions about their child«SQ»s oral health. The purpose of this study was to determine parental awareness of their children«SQ»s oral health maintenance and their attitude toward dental treatment. Materials and Methods: Total 284 parents from different socioeconomic groups participated in the study. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire addressing various aspects of knowledge and attitude of parents toward oral health and treatment modalities. Results: Awareness among parents was significantly lower in low socioeconomic group. Their attitude toward dental treatment differed significantly in which only 53% parents from high socioeconomic group preferred going to the pediatric dentist. Conclusion: The level of awareness among parents is relatively low and there is need for the implementation of oral health awareness programs for parents to change their attitude toward dental treatment of their children.

How to cite this article:
Bodhale P, Karkare S, Khedkar S. Knowledge and attitude of parents toward oral health maintenance and treatment modalities for their children.J Dent Res Rev 2014;1:24-27

How to cite this URL:
Bodhale P, Karkare S, Khedkar S. Knowledge and attitude of parents toward oral health maintenance and treatment modalities for their children. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Jan 18 ];1:24-27
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Full Text


Health is a universal human need for all cultural groups. General health cannot be attained or maintained without oral health. The mouth is regarded as the mirror of the body and the gateway to good health. [1] Oral health education begins from footsteps of awareness. Today, various dental health education programs have been conducted in schools and other settings; however, these efforts will not succeed until people are not aware of the importance of oral health and positive attitude toward treatment modalities.

As the oral health of children depends on awareness of their parents, evaluation of need for implementation of oral health awareness programs is important.

Hence, in this study an attempt was made to evaluate and compare oral health awareness amongst parents from different socioeconomic groups and their attitude toward dental treatment.

 Materials and Methods

A total of 284 parents participated in the study who visited to the department of pediatric and preventive dentistry, Nasik. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire addressing various aspects of knowledge and attitude of parents toward oral health and treatment modalities and divided into two groups according to their socioeconomic status.

Group I: Parents having their annual income below 30,000.

Group II: Parents having their annual income above 30,000.

Exclusion criteria

Incompletely filled questionnaire forms

on these criteria, 266 questionnaire forms were selected for further evaluation.

The questionnaire included total 15 questions regarding parental awareness and attitude toward dental treatment. All aspects of oral health awareness and dental treatment attitudes were addressed. Data were entered and analyzed using the percentage method.


Results revealed that the awareness among parents from group I was low compared to parents from group II [Table 1], [Figure 1]. Significant difference was noted about the knowledge regarding timing of first dental visit in both the groups [Table 2], [Figure 2].{Table 1}{Table 2}{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Also, results showed that group II had higher percentage of correct attitude toward treatment modalities when compared with group I [Table 3], [Figure 3]. However, no significant difference was noted among group I and group II regarding the knowledge of any effect on permanent teeth due to treatment of primary teeth [Table 4], [Figure 4].{Figure 3}{Figure 4}{Table 3}{Table 4}


The rationale of oral health awareness program is to improve and motivate the parents regarding their dental health and treatment needs. The parent's support and involvement in child's oral health are important in influencing the dental health of the child. Majority of the surveys reported that parents belonging to minority and economically disadvantaged groups were overrepresented in the poor perception of their children's oral health. This study highlights increased demand to initiate dental awareness programs aiming at the people belonging to low socioeconomic groups. [2]

Children from low-income and disadvantaged families have a disproportionately higher prevalence of untreated dental caries and lower dental care utilization than higher income group children. A reduction of oral health disparities requires a comprehensive oral health promotion strategy for better oral health among low-income group children. This strategy includes programs such as oral health education, preventive and comprehensive dental care, and social and organizational interventions to address multiple barriers to access and utilize dental care. [3] For these interventions and programs to be successful, the caregivers should be motivated to take action by being aware of their children's oral health conditions and the need for prevention and early interventions. A better understanding of how well caregivers perceive their children's oral health status may improve utilization of dental care services. [4]

A study of Latino immigrant parents demonstrated a relationship between parental beliefs (e.g. unimportance of primary teeth) and the development of caries in their children. Similarly, this study suggests that the Indian community still holds many myths regarding dental treatment, for instance, that a child will not tolerate multiple extractions at once or that one can leave decaying baby teeth alone because they will fall out. A better understanding of these beliefs may help providers explain the goals, risks, and benefits of treatment to the parents as well as to their families, which play an important role in the decision making. [5]

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends cleaning children's teeth as soon as they erupt and use of dental floss when adjacent teeth are touching. [5] Since many parents in this study from the low socioeconomic group (30.2%) did not have the perception of cleaning their children's teeth using oral hygiene aids, there is need for the awareness programs especially in low socioeconomic groups.

Our results suggest that knowledge of parents about first dental visit of their child is significantly less. Similarly, according to Al-Shalan TA, the majority of parents responded that they would still visit the dentist for the treatment of the chief complaint. They concluded that Saudi parents lack sufficient knowledge about the timing of the first dental visit and the importance of behavior modification for their children. [6]

Al-Shalan et al. conducted a study on parent's attitude toward children's first dental visit in which some parents reported that their child's first dental visit should be in the third year (42%) while others thought it should be in the sixth year (34.4%). Seventy-three percent of the parents prefer behavior modification during the first dental visit. Regular visit (40.3%) and emergencies (28.1%) were the main reasons to bring the children to the dentist. This data indicate that there is a relatively low level of parent's knowledge about the timing of a child's first dental visit. The dental profession and pediatricians have major responsibilities to change this concept. [7]

It is generally assumed that a well-educated person is generally more aware of overall health but, the lack of awareness regarding the importance of deciduous teeth was evident. Indians have been reported to have low level of oral health awareness and practice as compared to Western people. Western children have also been reported to be more aware of regular visits to a dentist because it is initiated either by their parents or dentists. Such an effort on the part of the parents is predominantly missing in Indian children. Similar findings were observed in our study that high socioeconomic status parents were also unaware of importance of timely treatment of primary teeth. [8]

Attainment of good oral health is based on awareness of good dietary habits and oral hygiene practices. The need for making parents aware of the brushing methods and importance of preventive measures for the children via school dental programs have been reported in the literature. When the awareness was assessed in all 94% parents attending school dental program it was observed that majority of the parents did not know the recommended oral hygiene maintenance procedures for children. It was also observed that all parents needed education on importance of regular dental visits, dietary habits, and oral hygiene procedures in young children. This finding is in accordance with our study that stresses on importance of influencing parents to achieve oral health of children. [2]

Studies involving adults showed that there is strong correlation between general and oral health perceptions and parents make similar association when responding to their children. Parental assessments of the oral health of their children indicate parent's perceived risk of their children's susceptibility to dental disease. Understanding factors that affect parent's perceptions of their children's oral health can move dentistrycloser to developing strategies to help overcomethe barriers parents encounter in accessing oralhealth care for their children. In turn, this understandingmay enable parents to be partners with health care providers in ensuring the well-being of their children. [9]

Children's dental insurance was a significant determinant of child dental visits among a low-income underserved population. However, even after accounting for dental insurance status and other risk indicators, it was found that children of caregivers who reported having visited a dentist for preventive care had higher dental care visits. Future research is necessary to identify and promote determinants of caregiver's preventive dental visits to improve low income children's dental visits. [10]


There is a low level of oral health awareness and initiation for dental visits in parents in Indian society. This study sheds light on a new dimension of significant role of pedodontic triangle in organizing dental health awareness programs for parents. There is need to create more awareness about the knowledge and importance of first dental visit among the society. Thus, this study initiates a thought-provoking response from dental health educators who carry out awareness programs in different setups and in different populations.

In conclusion, many parents had good knowledge, but the same did not reflect in their attitude and practice. It is worthwhile to attempt regular oral health promotion education programs, with stress on attitude toward treatment modalities for their children. This study also emphasizes the need to initiate positive attitude toward treatment modalities for primary teeth in Indian society.


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