Aim: Preschool children are dependent upon their parents for their dental care. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and beliefs of parents towards oral health and dental care of their children aged 1-4 years in an Indian population.
Methods: Parents of 620 preschool children, who visited Krishna Dental College and Hospital, Ghaziabad, India for dental treatment were recruited into this study and completed a self administered questionnaire.
Results: It was revealed that the lack of knowledge and awareness of importance of the primary teeth, dental fear of the parents and the myths associated with dental treatment, created barriers to early preventive dental care of preschool children. The oral hygiene and feeding practices were found to be disappointing and the knowledge about the essential role of fluoride and transmission of Streptococcus mutans bacteria was found to be limited. The elders in the family, especially grandparents, highly influenced the decisions of the parents regarding dental treatment of their children.
Conclusions: Parents' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about the importance of dental health need to be improved. Coordinated efforts by paediatricians, paediatric dentists and other health professionals are required to impart dental health education about oral hygiene, feeding practices, importance of the primary dentition and to promote preventive dental programmes.