Influence of parents' oral health behaviour on oral health status of their school children: an exploratory study employing a causal modelling technique

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2002 Mar;12(2):101-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-263x.2002.00338.x.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the simultaneous interrelationships between parents' oral health behaviour and the oral health status of their school children.

Sample and methods: Subjects comprised 296 pairs of parents (mother or father) and their children at an elementary school in Hiroshima. The child's dental examination was performed using the World Health Organization (WHO) caries diagnostic criteria for decayed teeth (DT) and filled teeth (FT). The Oral Rating Index for Children (ORI-C) was used for the child's gingival health examination. Hiroshima University Dental Behavioural Inventory (HU-DBI) was used for the assessment of the parents' oral health behaviour. A parent-child behavioural model was tested by the linear structural relations (LISREL) programme.

Results: There was a significant correlation between DT and ORI-C (r = - 0.168; P < 0.01). Correlation was found between ORI-C and oral health behaviour in children (OHB-C) (r = 0.182; P < 0.01). OHB-C was significantly associated with the HU-DBI (r = 0.251; P < 0.001). The hypothesized model after some revisions was found to be consistent with the data (chi(2) = 1.3, d.f. = 6, P = 0.97; Goodness of Fit Index = 0.999). Parents' oral health behaviour affected their children's oral health behaviour (P < 0.001). Children's oral health behaviour affected their DT through its effect on gingival health level. Parents' oral health behaviour also had a significant direct effect on their children's DT (P < 0.05). Children's grade affected both DT and their oral health behaviour.

Conclusions: Parents' oral health behaviour could influence their children's gingival health and dental caries directly and/or indirectly through its effect on children's oral health behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / psychology*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Oral Hygiene / psychology
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Parent-Child Relations*