26/04/2016 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1177/2380084416647727 SemanticScholar ID: 206835811 MAG: 2342016914

Parents’ Experiences of Toothbrushing with Children

Publication Summary

Globally, dental caries is one of the most prevalent diseases and is more common in children living in deprived areas. Dental caries is preventable, and guidance in the United Kingdom recommends parental supervised brushing (PSB): a collection of behaviors—including twice-daily toothbrushing with fluoridated toothpaste—that should begin upon eruption of the first tooth (approximately 6 to 12 mo of age) and for which children need to be helped or supervised by an adult until at least 7 y of age. The aim of this study was to explore parents’ experiences of toothbrushing with their young children and to establish barriers and facilitators to PSB at individual, interpersonal, and environmental levels according to the theoretical domains framework. Qualitative semistructured interviews guided by the framework were conducted with 27 parents of young children (<7 y) in 2 deprived areas of the United Kingdom. Framework analysis was used. Parents were not aware of national guidance concerning their active involvement in toothbrushing; however, they did have detailed knowledge of toothbrushing practices for children, and their intentions were to brush their children’s teeth themselves twice every day as part of a family routine. Nonetheless, parents’ difficulties experienced in managing their children’s challenging behavior and the environmental context of their stressful lives meant that many parents adopted a role of simply reminding their children to brush or watching them brush. As such, the main barriers to PSB among parents living in deprived areas were skills in managing their children’s behavior and environmental influences on family life. The results of our study have clear implications for the development of appropriate interventions to address the modifiable barriers to improve parental adoption of PSB. Knowledge Transfer Statement: The results of this study will be used to develop a behavior change intervention to encourage parental supervised brushing. The intervention—which is likely to be delivered through health practitioners rather than dental teams—will be developed to reduce dental caries among young children and will require evaluation in terms of its clinical and cost effectiveness.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Rosie McEachan

Prof. Rosie McEachan

Bradford Institute for Health Research - Born in Bradford Director

Avatar Image for Kara Gray-Burrows

Dr. Kara Gray-Burrows

University of Leeds - Lecturer in Psychological Approaches to Health

Avatar Image for Peter Day

Dr. Peter Day

University of Leeds - Professor and Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry

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