Title: Parental Oral Health Literacy of children with severe early childhood caries in Hong Kong
Abstract: Aim To assess the parental oral health literacy of children with severe early childhood caries.
Methods A total of 315 children diagnosed with severe early childhood caries, and their parents were recruited to participate in the study. A clinical examination was conducted to assess the children’s oral health status. Their parents were asked to complete a Hong Kong Oral Health Literacy Assessment Task for Paediatric Dentistry (HKOHLAT-P) questionnaire.
Results There were 311 complete responses (98.7% response rate). The mean age of children was 4.7 years (standard deviation (SD) =0.8). The mean decayed, missing filled teeth (dmft) score was 10.2 (SD = 4.5). Most of the children had unfilled dental caries (98.7%). About 72.7% of the parents had an education level of up to secondary school. More than half (61.7%) had a monthly family income of below HKD 20,000. Parents with a lower education level and income had a significantly lower HKOHLAT-P score (p<0.001). Multiple regression analyses showed that a higher family income (p<0.05) and education level (p<0.05) predicted higher HKOHLAT-P scores.
Conclusion The parental oral health literacy of children with severe early childhood caries was associated with their socio-economic background. Oral health education should be targeted towards the lower socio-economic groups.