Parents´ Knowledge about the Effects of Oral Hygiene, Proper Nutrition and Fluoride Prophylaxis on Oral Health in Early Childhood

Download Article

Aleksandrija Djordjevic

Faculty of Medicine Pristina, University of Pristina – Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia


Background/Aim: Health education, as one of the important aspects of preventive dentistry, plays an important role in promoting and achieving good oral health. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of parents´ knowledge about the effects of oral hygiene, proper nutrition and fluoride prophylaxis on oral heath in early childhood. Material and

Methods: Parents were asked to fill a questionnaire which consisted of three sections, oral hygiene, fluoride prophylaxis and nutrition. The study included 136 parents of children, aged between 3-6 years. The survey was conducted in pedagogical-education institution – PE “Our happiness” – Leposavic, Kosovo and Metohia, Serbia. Results: More than 58% parents from urban areas and 63% parents from rural areas were informed that the teeth should be brushed at least twice a day (p=0.007). Only 31.11% of parents from urban and 15.22% of parents from rural areas were informed that a child should visit dentists for the first time, at the one year of age (p=0.083). The analysis of the questionnaire section regarding the nutrition and oral health, showed that parents from rural areas were better informed than parents from urban areas. Awareness about fluoride and their role in preventive dentistry was poor, as only 3% of children from urban and 1% of children from rural areas were using tablets based on fluoride while only 1% of children from urban and none from rural areas were using fluoride mouth rinses. Conclusions: The study showed that parents have the knowledge about the impact of oral hygiene, food and fluoride prophylaxis on the oral health but unfortunately they do not apply their knowledge in practice.

Keywords: Oral health; Knowledge; Parents; Questionnaires; Oral hygiene; Proper nutrition; Fluoride prophylaxis; Child



1. Petersen PE. Global policy for improvement of oral health in the 21st century: implications to oral health research of World Health Assembly 2007. World Health Organization. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol, 2009;37:1-8.Google Scholar


2. Ramos-Gomez F, Crystal YO, Ng MW, Tinanoff N, Featherstone JD. Caries risk assessment, prevention, and management in pediatric dental care. Gen Dent, 2010;58:505-517.Google Scholar


3. Poutanen R, Lahti S, Tolvanen M, Hausen H. Parental influence on childrens oral health-related behavior. Acta Odontol Scand, 2006;64:286-292.CrossrefGoogle Scholar


4. Vermaire JH, Hoogstraten J, van Loveren C, Poorterman JH, van Exel NJ. Attitudes towards oral health among parents of 6-years old children at risk of developing caries. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol, 2010;38:507-520.CrossrefGoogle Scholar


5. Gao XL, Hsu CY, Xu YC, Loh T, Koh D, Hwarng HB. Promoting positive health behaviours-“tooth worm” phenomenon and its implications. Community Dent Health, 2012;29:55-61.Google Scholar


6. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Guideline on infant oral health care. Pediatr Dent, 2012;34:132-136.Google Scholar


7. Blinkhorn AS, Gratrix D, Holloway PJ, Wainweight Stringer YM, War SJ, Worthington HV. A cluster randomized, controlled trial of value of dental health educators in general dental practice. Br Dent J, 2003;195:395-400.Google Scholar


8. Abiola Adeniyi A, Eyitope Ogunbodede O, Sonny Jeboda O, Morenike Folayan O. Do maternal factors influence the dental health status of Nigerian pre-school children? Int J of Paediatr Dent, 2009;19:448-454.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar


9. Nagarajappa R, Kakatkar G, Sharda AJ, Asawa K, Ramesh G, Sandesh N. Infant oral health: Knowledge, attitude and practices of parents in Udaipur, India. Dent Res J (Isfahan), 2013;10:659‑665.Google Scholar


10. Hooleya M, Skouterisa H, Boganina C, Saturb J and Kilpatrickc N. Parental influence and the development of dental caries in children aged 0-6 years: a systematic review of the literature. J of Dent, 2012;40:787-872.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar


11. Dye BA, Vargas CM, Lee JJ, Magder L, Tinanoff N. Assessing the relationship between children’s oral health status and that of their mothers. J Amer Dent Assoc, 2011;142:173-183.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar


12. Gilinsky A, Swanson V, Merrett M, Power K, Marley L. Development and testing of a theory-based behavioural change intervention: a pilot investigation in a nursery school in a deprived area of Scotland. Community Dent Health, 2012;29:62-67.Google Scholar


13. Meera R, Muthu M S, Phanibabu M, Rathnaprabhu V. First dental visit of a child. I Indian Soc PedodPrev Dent, 2008; 26: S68-71.Google Scholar


14. Alaa S, Hussein, Mohamed I, Abu-Hassan, Robert J, Schroth, Aghareed MG. Parents perception on the importance of their childrens first dental visit (A cross-sectional Pilot Study in Malaysia). J Oral Resear, 2013;1:17-25.Google Scholar


15. Winnier JJ, Mehta S, Parmar A, Bhatia R. Pediatric Dental Procedures: a survey of knowledge and attitudes of parents. Int J Dent Health Sci, 2015;2:1171-1182.Google Scholar


16. Hinze ES, Casamassimo PS, Seale NS, Mcllroy M, Kerins CA, McWhorter AG. Relative value of oral health in wellchild care: a survey of pediatricians in Texas and Ohio. J Dent Child, 2014;81:84-90.Google Scholar


17. Lalic M, Aleksic E, Gajic M i Malesevic Đ. Oral Health Related Knowledge and health behavior of parents and school children. Med Pregl Novi Sad, 2013; LXVI:70-80.Google Scholar


18. Jain R, Oswal CK, Chitguppi R. Knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers toward their children’s oral health: A questionnaire survey among subpopulation in Mumbai (India). J Dent Resear Sci Develop, 2014;1:40-45.Google Scholar


19. Moulana SA, Yashoda R, Puranik MP, Hiremath S S , Gaikwad R. Knowledge, attitude and practices towards primary dentition among the mothers of 3‑5 year old pre‑school children in Bangalore city. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent, 2012;19:83-92.Google Scholar


20. Suresh BS, Ravishankar TL, Chaitra TR, Mohapatra AK, Gupta V. Mother’sknowledge about pre‑school child’s oral health. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent, 2010;28:282‑287.Google Scholar


21. Gussy MG, Waters EB, Riggs EM, Lo SK, Kilpatrick NM. Parental knowledge, beliefs and behaviours for oral health of toddlers residing in rural Victoria. Aust Dent J, 2008;53:52-60.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar


22. Kamolmatyakul S, Saiong S. Oral health knowledge, attitude and practices of parents attending Prince of Songkla University Dental Hospital. Int J Health Promot Educ, 2007;45:111‑113.Google Scholar


23. Ivanovic M, Carevic M, Markovic D, Vulicevic Z, Stevanovic R, Petrovic V, et al. Protocols in dentistry. Belgrade: School of Dentristry; 2009. (Serbian)Google Scholar


24. Wyne AH, Chohan AN, Alrowily FH, Shehri BM. Oral health knowledge, attitude and practices by parents of the children attending KSUCD clinics. Pak Oral Dent J, 2004;24:145Google Scholar


Balkan Journal of Dental Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 26–31, ISSN (Online) 2335-0245,DOI: