Oral Health Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Parents of Children with Diabetes Compared to Those of Parents of Children without Diabetes

J Dent Hyg. 2015 Jun;89(3):170-9.


Purpose: To compare the oral health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of parents of children, aged 6 to 13, who have type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes to those of parents of similarly aged children without diabetes.

Methods: The study population consisted of 46 parents of children with diabetes and 46 parents of children without diabetes from outpatient clinics, providing medical care to children with and without diabetes, respectively. After gaining permission of clinic directors, the investigator approached parents, who were waiting in the clinics' reception areas, to complete the 33-item survey. The survey included questions on socio-demographic characteristics, their child's oral hygiene practices, dental visits, dietary habits, their own oral health knowledge and attitudes, and their child's diabetic condition, when relevant. A Chi-square test was used to determine significant differences between responses of the two groups of parents.

Results: All parents approached completed the survey. Children with diabetes had significantly less frequent sugary drink consumption and less untreated dental caries than children without diabetes. The majority of parents of children with diabetes selected "don't know" for statements related to diabetes and oral health, whereas most parents of children without diabetes agreed with the statements, resulting in significant differences between groups. Most parents of children with diabetes considered these same statements important to them, while the importance to parents of children without diabetes was variable.

Conclusion: To maintain their children's oral health, parents of children with diabetes must receive more education regarding the prevention and control of the oral complications of diabetes.

Keywords: diabetes complications; diabetes mellitus type 1; oral health; oral hygiene; periodontal diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene / methods
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires