Oral health-related knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and family characteristics among Finnish schoolchildren with and without active initial caries lesions

Acta Odontol Scand. 2007 Apr;65(2):87-96. doi: 10.1080/00016350601058077.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the presence of active initial caries lesions among 11 to 12-year-old schoolchildren is associated with parental and child-related factors and whether there are gender differences in these associations.

Material and methods: The data were gathered by questionnaires from children and their parents, who replied without knowing the other's answers. All the children were invited to participate in a screening for the presence or absence of active initial caries lesions. Factors associated with children's initial caries were studied with logistic regression analyses.

Results: The parents' self-assessed poor dental health, the parents' and the child's poor oral health-related behavior, and the child's response "I don't know" to the question concerning his/her parents' possible dental caries were associated with the presence of active initial caries lesions. The results of logistic regression analyses were different between girls and boys. Among the girls, many parent-related factors were associated with the presence of initial caries. Among the boys, most factors were related to the child; and of the parent-related factors, only parents' poor self-assessed dental health was associated with initial caries; the effect was modified by the father's occupational level.

Conclusions: Parental factors affect boys' and girls' dental health differently. Among boys, the effect of the fathers was seen as the father's occupational level; among girls, parental knowledge and behavior were important. When school interventions to promote health are planned, the important role of the parents should be emphasized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / psychology
  • Diet, Cariogenic
  • Employment
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires