Parent awareness of dental and nutritional requirements of preschool children

Alexander, Deanna

Objective: Oral health and dental care are important for young children because sound oral function is required for eating, speech development of positive self image. The objective of this study was to determine parent’s knowledge and attitudes about the importance of early dental intervention and nutrition in young children.

Methods: The instrument used in this study was a 12 question survey administered to parents with children at the Rosa Parks and Fort Street Headstart Programs. This study was approved as exempt by the UDM institutional Review Board.

Results: Of the 100 surveys distributed to both schools, 67 were returned for 67% response rate. The majority of those surveyed agreed that children should have their first dental check-up at 1 year of age and that children should visit the dentist by 2 years of age. 100% of the parents surveyed responded that their children brush their teeth at least once a day, but 0% of the parents said that their children flossed their teeth every day. 96.7% of parents agreed that proper nutrition is important for children to have strong teeth and good oral health. 76.1% of parents stated that their children ate fruit and vegetables every day.

Conclusion: Our intentions were to raise awareness of early dental prevention and care for young children. There is a growing awareness for early dental care and proper nutritional education for young children. Parents and dental professionals should be actively involved in the health care and maintenance of young children.