The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between parental and family-related
factors and childhood dental caries in a sample of 5- to 6-year-old children of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin. Furthermore,
the relationship of parental and family-related factors with social class and ethnicity was examined.
study sample included 92 parent-child dyads (46 cases and 46 controls), which were recruited from a large paediatric dental
centre in The Hague, the Netherlands. Cases were children with four or more decayed, missing or filled teeth, and controls
were caries free. Validated questionnaires were used to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, oral health behaviours,
parents’ dental self-efficacy and locus of control (LoC), parenting practices and family functioning. Parenting practices
were also assessed using structured video observations of parent-child interactions.
Parents of controls
had a more internal LoC, and they were more likely to show positive (observed) parenting in terms of positive involvement,
encouragement and problem-solving, compared to cases (P < 0.05). Lower social class was significantly associated with a
lower dental self-efficacy, a more external LoC and poorer parenting practices. Furthermore, LoC was more external in Moroccan
and Turkish parents, compared to Dutch parents.
Parents’ internal LoC and observed positive parenting
practices on the dimensions positive involvement, encouragement and problem-solving were important indicators of dental health
in children of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin. Findings suggest that these parental factors are potential mediators of
socioeconomic inequalities in children's dental health.