Oral health knowledge attitudes and behaviors of migrant preschooler parents

J Dent Hyg. 2010 Spring;84(2):87-93. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to establish baseline data about oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFW). The study focused on MSFWs that are parents of preschool-aged children, and who utilized services at 3 migrant dental clinics.

Methods: An oral health knowledge attitudes and behaviors survey was developed and pilot tested in 2006. The resulting 34 item survey was administered by trained promotores de salud (community health workers) to 45 parents of preschoolers (15 at each clinic site) served by 3 migrant dental clinics. Parents answered questions as they pertained to their oldest preschooler (up to age 5).

Results: Dental visits in the last 12 months were reported for 26 (58%) of the children. Fifteen parents (33%) had a dental visit in the last year. Thirty-five parents (77/8%) reported their child's oral health to be good, and 21 (46.7%) reported their own to be good. Half of the children were enrolled in Head Start (HS). Of those, 18 (79%) had a dental visit in the last year, whereas 8 (36%) of those not enrolled in HS had a visit. Discrepancies existed for the age parents believed children should stop using a bottle and the age they actually did stop using a bottle. There were discrepancies in knowledge about decay causing drinks and consumption of drinks by preschool-aged children.

Conclusions: MSFWs remain an underserved population with poor access to oral health care and multiple factors affecting oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. A better understanding of influences on oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviors within the population can assist in implementing appropriate interventions for the maintenance of good oral health in MSFW families. HS can have a positive impact on oral health for MSFW children.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Chicago
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Workers
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Clinics / statistics & numerical data
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Educational Status
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*