RESEARCH ARTICLE


Perspectives on Dental Caries: A Cross-Sectional Study among Parents of Primary School Children in Saudi Arabia



Danya Hashem1, *, Osama Abu Hammad2, Jana Farran3, Anmar Faran3, Najla Dar Odeh4
1 Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, Taibah University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Prosthodontic Dental Sciences, Taibah University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
3 General Dental Practitioner, Ministry of Health, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Oral Medicine, Taibah University, Madinah, Saudi Arabia


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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Hashem et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address corresponding to this author at the Department of Restorative Dental Science, College of Dentistry, Taibah University Madinah, Saudi Arabia P.O Box 41311; Telephone: 00966-14861-8724; E-mail: dhashem@taibahu.edu.sa


Abstract

Background:

Dental caries is one of the most prevalent chronic childhood diseases affecting many people worldwide. Many people do not recognize the early signs of dental caries or its causes, which is crucial for the prevention and early intervention of the disease and consequently less-invasive and cheaper treatment options.

Objective:

This study aimed to evaluate the perspectives of parents about the meaning, causes, and early signs of dental caries, the association of tooth discoloration with decay, and the effect of different socio-demographic variables on the knowledge of patients regarding caries.

Methods:

Questionnaires were distributed to parents of primary school children in the region of Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Meaning of dental caries, early signs, causes of tooth discoloration related to decay, and the effect of different socio-demographic variables were calculated. Multiple linear regression analysis was carried out to identify significant predictor variables associated with caries knowledge scores.

Results:

There was a total of 2690 respondents. The majority had average caries knowledge scores. Lighter shades of tooth discoloration were reported to be associated with stains and warranted home care only, while darker shades were associated with caries and yielded a necessity for a visit to the dentist. Different socio-demographic variables had an effect on the caries knowledge of the parents.

Conclusion:

There is a need for increased knowledge about the early signs of dental caries among parents. Delayed recognition of signs of dental caries has a detrimental effect on the teeth of children and leads to seeking dental care at the later stages of the disease process. Community-oriented programs are fundamental for improving caries knowledge, its clinical presentations starting from its early signs, causes, and prevention.

Keywords: Dentistry, Paediatric dentistry, Dental caries, Tooth discoloration, Socio-demographics, Prevention, Oral health, Primary school children.