Current Content
Volume 43 - Number 1
January/February 2017

Parental Knowledge about Urban Preschool Children’s Oral Health Risk
Ganga Mahat and Felesia Bowen

Dental caries is one of the most prevalent and significant health problems in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, more than one-fourth of children between the ages of two and five years experience early childhood caries before entering kindergarten. The purpose of this study was to explore parent’s knowledge of preschool children’s oral health risk factors. A descriptive design was used with a convenience sample of 87 parents of children who attended day care centers and preschools. Seventeen knowledge questions were used to assess parents’ knowledge of their child’s oral health. Results showed that parents lacked knowledge in some aspects of oral health care. The majority of parents knew that baby teeth are important, and both baby and permanent teeth should be brushed. Fewer, however, perceived that cavities in baby teeth lead to cavities in permanent teeth. Similarly, parents knew the role of food in the dental caries, but fewer perceived that cavities may be caused by using a bottle or infant drinking cup to drink fluid other than water and frequent snacking. Findings illuminate the knowledge gaps in this sample of parents of preschoolers. Pediatric nurses can play a key role in promoting children’s oral health and preventing dental caries by proving anticipatory guidance and education to children and their parents at well child visits, during hospitalization, and in school and community settings.