Abstract: nowledge and practices of parents toward their children’s oral health in Kuwait.
Materials and methods Study Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 300 parents who visited five dental specialty centers in Kuwait. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire. Statistics: The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software (version 21; Inc., Chicago IL, USA). Data were descriptively analysed, and a chi-square test was used to determine whether each individual question varied across different sociodemographic characteristics. The overall mean knowledge and practice scores were calculated. Statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.
Results The study results revealed poor parental knowledge and practices with regard to their children’s oral health. Oral hygiene and feeding practices were found to be disappointing. Major weakness were observed in infant oral health-related concepts including transmission of cariogenic bacteria, nocturnal bottle feeding, and the time of the first dental visit. However, most parents identified the meaning of gum bleeding and the role of bacteria in causing it. Furthermore, participants demonstrated positive role in their children’s daily oral hygiene. A significant better knowledge was detected among female subjects in areas like bacterial transmission (P = 0.031) and aetiology of gingivitis (P = 0.001). Additionally, caregivers residing in Capital governorate showed a significantly better knowledge in bacterial transmission (P = 0.000) and meaning of bleeding gum (P = 0.001) and a significantly better practice with regard to the introduction of hot food to the child for the first time (P = 0.000).
Conclusion Parents in Kuwait seemed to have weak knowledge and practices with regard to their children’s oral health. Coordinated efforts by health professionals, including paediatricians and paediatric dentists, are required to increase parental awareness regarding oral hygiene habits, diet and feeding practices, and to promote early preventive visits to the dentists.