Introduction: Because parents play a key role in children’s dental health, the aim of this study was to determine the relationship between parents’ oral health literacy (OHL) and their children’s dental health status in Babol, Iran.

Methods: In this cross sectional study a total of 384 children aged 21 months to 84 months who attended the dental clinic of Babol University of Medical Sciences between September 2015 and February 2016 were examined. We measured dmft index only for primary dentition; during examination the accompanying parent completed the “Oral Health Literacy-Adults Questionnaire”. Comparing mean analysis, such as one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and an independent-samples t-test, served to compare children’s dental caries, missing, and dental fillings’ mean differences, between subgroups. In addition, the relationship between OHL, children’s dental caries, and dental fillings was assessed using multiple linear regression models while controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors. All data were analyzed by SPSS version 22.

Results: Children’s mean age was 55.1 months (SD: 13.7), while 47% were girls. Mean children’s dental caries, missing, filling, and mean dmft index were 6.5, 0.4, 1.2, and 8.2 respectively. Parents with inadequate OHL had children with more dental caries (p=0.005), however this relation had no significance while controlling for background factors. Increasing children’s dental fillings was significantly related with families living in urban regions (p=0.01, 95% CI: 0.11 to 1.12), and parents with adequate OHL (p=0.02, 95% CI: 0.08 to 1.05).

Conclusion: Inadequate parents’ OHL was associated with children having high dental caries and less dental fillings. Therefore, providing interventions to improve parents' OHL would be valuable in children's dental health promotion programs, especially in countries with a developing oral health system.


Keywords: Caregiver, Oral health literacy, Oral health status, Child
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