Introduction: Parents' infant and early childhood oral health knowledge is of paramount importance, because oral health behaviours are the exclusive domain of parents during the early years of life. Studies exploring the association between mother's behaviour, oral health literacy and children's oral health outcomes are scarce.
Aim: To evaluate the association between mother's behaviour, oral health literacy and children's dental caries experience.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among one hundred pre-school children aged 2-6 years and their mothers from pre-schools in Bangalore, India. Data regarding their demographics, mother's knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) was collected through a questionnaire. Mother's oral health literacy was assessed with Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Dentistry-30 (REALD-30) scale. Caries experience of the children was recorded using Decayed Missing Filled Teeth (DMFT) Index. Data was entered into excel sheet and analysed using statistical package for SPSS 22.0.
Results: : The mean KAP, REALD-30 and DMFT scores were 13.17 ± 4.57, 17.68 ± 5.85, 2.61 ± 2.21, respectively. In this study, REALD-30 score negatively correlated with DMFT score and positively correlated with KAP score. In a linear regression, KAP and REALD-30 scores showed a highly significant association with dental caries.
Conclusion: Mother's behaviour and oral health literacy influenced caries experience of the children. Therefore, improving the behaviour and oral health literacy of the mothers is the key to influence child's oral health.
Keywords: Children; early childhood caries; oral health; oral health literacy.