Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Mothers toward their Pre-School Children’s Oral Health: A Questionnaire Survey among a Subpopulation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
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Parental knowledge and beliefs may have a possibly detrimental effect on young children’s oral health. Oral hygiene and healthy eating habits in children is significantly affected by their parent’s knowledge and awareness of the importance of dental health. Particularly crucial in the preventative cycle is the positive attitude toward good dental care as displayed by the parents. A positive correlation has been determined between parents’ attitudes towards dentistry and better dental health of their children. Objective of this study is to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers toward their children’s oral health in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE). A cross-sectional study was conducted among 383 mothers (average age of the mothers was 36.61 (+7.86 years), of preschool children average age 3.49 (+1.63 years) who attended Sharjah Dental Center, UAE. Data were collected through an interview, using a structured preform. Adequate knowledge was found among (58.2%), and poor knowledge was found among (41.8%); (99% ) of the mothers exhibited excellent attitude and only (20%) were following good practices towards their children’s oral health. Poor knowledge and practices of mothers toward their children’s oral health was significantly associated with mothers’ occupation and education. Employed mothers scored significantly higher mean of knowledge than the others. Mothers with secondary level of education and university qualification had significantly higher scores of practice compared with mothers with primary education. Employed and student mothers had higher scores of attitude higher than unemployed mothers and mothers owning their own businesses. These differences were statistically significant. There were no significant differences in attitudes of mothers from different educational backgrounds. This study demonstrated that although mothers had better than average knowledge and excellent attitude towards their children’s oral health issues; most of them carried out improper practices towards their children’s oral health. The results also demonstrated differences in mothers’ knowledge, attitude and practices according to their educational and employment backgrounds. The data suggested the need for an establishment of awareness programs in order to improve knowledge and practices of the mothers towards their children’s oral health.