ABSTRACT: The incidence of caries in children is closely related to daily habits and may also be influenced markedly by a mother's attitude to child-care. For example, if a mother has a mental health problem such as child-care anxiety, this may prevent her obtaining advice on the daily health requirements of her children including the need to brush the teeth regularly. It is therefore important that mothers receive guidance in order to minimize the incidence of caries. This study examined the effect of child-care anxiety in mothers on the prevalence of caries in 3-year-old children.
The subjects were 503 pairs of mothers and their children who attended a check-up at a community health center in Gifu City when the children were aged 3-years. The mothers answered a questionnaire about child-care, while the children had a dental examination and caries activity test (Cariostat). The prevalence of caries and the Cariostat score were examined by binomial logistic regression analysis. The relationship between child-care anxiety of the mothers and children's caries or Cariostat score were analyzed using Covariance Analysis, that incorporated additional multiple indicator models including snack behavior, social-support and food faddism of the children.
1. The rate of caries disease increased with high Cariostat scores and was statistically significant at scores greater than 2.0. 2. Covariance analysis demonstrated both the models of children's caries and Cariostat score provided a good fit to the actual data, the former model having a GFI = 0.951 and RMSEA = 0.046, and the latter a GFI = 0.952 and RMSEA = 0.046. 3. It was found that anxiety over child-care directly affected snack behavior, while itself being influenced directly by both social-support and food fads of the children. 4. Snack behavior influenced Cariostat score, but not the prevalence of child caries.
We suggest it is necessary to provide guidance to mothers with a background of child-care anxiety in order to prevent a high rate of caries in their children. It may be possible to detect mothers with child-care anxiety that leads to bad snack behavior by obtaining information on the child's social-support and food fads. Our study showed that offering social support was an effective means of preventing habits that may predispose to the development of dental caries. Furthermore, we found the Cariostat score was an effective test for assessing the influence of child-care on caries incidence.
[Nippon kōshū eisei zasshi] Japanese journal of public health 01/2004; 50(12):1144-52.