OBJECTIVE: To identify the determinants of dental caries in relation to socio-economic status (SES) within oral health, children's eating habits and parental attitudes towards oral health.
BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN: Dental screening data were collected from 6- and 10-year-old schoolchildren from low and high SES schools in The Netherlands in this cross-sectional study.
METHODS: The clinical examination was performed by trained dental hygiene students who collected the data on dental caries, dental plaque and duration of brushing. The paper questionnaire completed by the parents included 18 questions about oral health behaviour, eating habits and parental attitudes towards oral health.
RESULTS: Two of the six parameters of oral health behaviour were statistically associated with the high caries prevalence in the low SES group (brushing frequency (p = 0.028) and age at the first visit to the dentist (p = 0.044)). High intake of fruit juices and/or soft drinks (p = 0.043) and low calcium intake (p = 0.028) were identified as risk determinants for caries with low SES. All parameters of parental attitudes towards oral health were associated with caries, but not with SES.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirmed that the high caries prevalence in children from low SES schools was associated with oral health behaviour and eating habits. The role of parents was indirectly associated with the occurrence of dental caries. Therefore, it is important to include parents in all intervention programmes in order to reduce the prevalence of caries.
- oral health
- social class