|Abstract or Summary
- Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than 40% of children by the time they reach kindergarten. A bacterium known as Streptococcus mutans is the primary source of infection, but multiple other factors play a significant role in the progression of the disease. Studies have shown that diet, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity are a few of the important influencing factors, but there is a need for more research concerning the influence parents have on the development and progression of this disease. The goal of this study was to examine parental influences including parental oral health, parental value of oral health, parenting style, and parental value of primary teeth in relation to a child’s oral health. A survey questionnaire was used to examine a small sample of parental perceptions, opinions and beliefs regarding oral health. The observations from the survey, along with an extensive literature review showed that a child’s oral health may be related to their parent’s oral health, parenting style, and parental consistency of oral health. It is not clear whether or not parents understand the importance of primary teeth. Parents in the sample were very involved in their child’s oral health, and eager to learn more about the importance of primary teeth and how to properly care for them. This study provided interesting insights and a good starting point for future research and the development of educational programs for parents in this community.