Oral Health Literacy of Parents of Pre-Schoolers in New Zealand
Background. The aim of this project was to find the level of oral health literacy of parents of pre-school age children regarding their child's oral health. The primary objective was to improve the oral health status of pre-schoolers and to prevent early childhood caries. Methods. 117 participants (parents of pre-schoolers) completed a self-administered oral health literacy questionnaire. Data obtained from the study was analysed using a statistical package (SPSS). Firstly, descriptive analysis was undertaken generating tables and graphs of socio-demographic variables. Later, associations between oral health literacy and socio-demographic variables were identified and also the relationship between parents' oral health literacy and their attitude towards water fluoridation in Christchurch was identified using bivariate and multivariable regression analysis. Psychometric analysis was generated to test the validity and reliability of the oral health literacy questionnaire. Results. In the total sample, 38% of participants had poor oral health literacy regarding their child's oral health. The results also indicated that there were associations present between parents' oral health literacy and socio-demographic variables such as ethnicity, education and family income in the regression analysis (F = 4.928, df = 21, p < 0.001, with R2 = 0.521). Nearly half of the parents opted for water fluoridation in Christchurch. A strong association between parents' oral health literacy and their attitude towards water fluoridation was identified (t = 3.021,df = 91.101;p < 0.004). Reliability was good for the developed oral health literacy instrument (Cronbach's alpha = 0.691). Conclusions. This study of parents' oral health literacy in Christchurch, New Zealand identified the association of oral health literacy and socio-demographic variables which gives future guidance to improving the oral health status of New Zealand children. The relationship between parents' oral health literacy and their attitude towards water fluoridation was shown in this study.