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Behavioral Determinants of Brushing Young Children's Teeth: Implications for Anticipatory Guidance

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Purpose: The purposes of this study were to identify parents' motivation, support, and barriers to twice daily tooth-brushing of infants and preschool-age children and to discover new approaches to encourage this important health behavior. Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with 44 rural parents about tooth-brushing habits and experiences. Results: Forty of 44 parents reported that they had begun to brush their child's teeth; 24 (55%) reported brushing twice a day or more. Parents who brushed twice a day, vs less often, were more likely to describe specific skills to overcome barriers; they expressed high self-efficacy and held high self-standards for brushing. Parents who brushed their children's teeth less than twice daily were more likely to: hold false beliefs about the benefits of twice daily tooth-brushing; report little normative pressure or social support for the behavior; have lower self-standards; describe more external constraints; and offer fewer ideas to overcome barriers. Conclusions: The findings support an integrative framework in which barriers and support for parents' twice daily brushing of their young children's teeth are multiple and vary among individuals. Knowledge of behavioral determinants specific to individual parents could strengthen anticipatory guidance and recommendations about at-home oral hygiene of young children.
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Keywords: ACCESS TO CARE; EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES; HEALTH PROMOTION; HEALTH SERVICES; INFANT ORAL HEALTH; ORAL HABITS; PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2010

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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