Child oral health in migrant families: a cross-sectional study of caries in 1-4 year old children from migrant backgrounds residing in Melbourne, Australia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • UNLABELLED:Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the most common, preventable disease of childhood. It can affect children's health and wellbeing and children from migrant families may be at greater risk of developing ECC. OBJECTIVE:To describe ECC in children from migrant families, and explore possible influences. BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN:Cross-sectional analysis of caries data collected as baseline data for an oral health promotion study. PARTICIPANTS:The analysis sample included 630 1-4 year-old children clustered within 481 Iraqi, Lebanese and Pakistani families in Melbourne, Australia. METHOD:Child participants received a community-based visual dental examination. Parents completed a self-administered questionnaire on demographics, ethnicity, and oral health knowledge, behaviour and attitudes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:Child caries experience. Bivariate associations between oral health behaviours and ethnicity were tested for significance using chi-square. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify associations with ECC, adjusting for demographic variables and accounting for clustering by family. RESULTS:Overall, 34% of children in the sample experienced caries (both non-cavitated and cavitated). For all caries lesions, parent' length of residence in Australia, consumption of sweet drinks and parental education remained as independent predictors of child caries experience. Adding sugar to drinks was an additional risk factor for cavitation. Ethnicity was associated with some individual oral health behaviours suggesting cultural influences on health, however the relationship was not independent of other predictors. CONCLUSION:Culturally competent oral health promotion interventions should aim to support migrant families with young children, and focus on reducing sweet drink consumption.

publication date

  • 2016

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