March 2012

Volume 29, Issue 1

Promoting Positive Health Behaviours – ‘Tooth Worm’ Phenomenon and its Implications

Authors: X.L. Gao C.Y.S. Hsu Y.C. Xu T. Loh D. Koh H.B. Hwarng
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2697Gao07


‘Tooth worm’ is a traditional belief about the pathogen of dental caries (tooth decay). Nevertheless, in our previous study, parental ‘tooth worm’ belief was linked to a reduced caries risk of their children. Objectives: This study aimed to further characterize the impact of parental ‘tooth worm’ belief on their children’s caries experience and its psychobehavioural mechanisms. Basic Research Design: analytic observational study. Setting: Thirteen randomly selected kindergartens in Singapore. Participants: 1,782 preschoolers aged 3-6 years. Methods: Each child received an oral examination and microbiological tests. Parents completed a self-administered questionnaire on their socio-demographic background, oral health knowledge/attitude and child’s oral health habits. Results: Multivariate analysis confirmed a reduced chance of ‘high caries rate’ (number of affected teeth>2) among children whose parents held the ‘tooth worm’ belief (Odds Ratio=0.41; 95% Confidence Interval=0.19-0.89). With such perception among parents, children brushed their teeth more frequently (p=0.042). Since no difference in oral hygiene was observed, the health benefit of the “tooth worm” perception may be acquired through the delivery of fluoride (an agent with proven anti-caries effect) during frequent toothbrushing episodes. Conclusions: This study revealed a ‘tooth worm’ phenomenon, indicating that parental ‘tooth worm’ belief is associated with early establishment of regular toothbrushing habit and reduction of dental caries in children. This phenomenon and its psychobehavioural mechanisms, enriching our understanding of oral health behaviours, have implications for effective health education. Key words: health belief, health behaviour, culture, oral health, oral hygiene


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial - Dental Public Health in Action 3-3 Download
Acknowledgement of Referees 4-4 Download
A description of a specialist led primary care based oral surgery service 5-7 Download
The caries experience of 11 to 12 year-old children in Scotland and Wales and 12 year-olds in England in 2008-2009: Reports of co-ordinated surveys using BASCD methodology 8-13 Download
Assessment of caries experience in epidemiological surveys: a review 14-20 Download
Dental caries experience among 12-year-old children in Northwest Russia 20-24 Download
Variations in caries diagnoses and treatment recommendations and their impacts on the costs of oral health care 25-28 Download
Caries prevalence of 5, 12 and 15-year-old Greek children: A national pathfinder survey 29-32 Download
Associated factors of tooth wear among Malaysian 16-year-olds: a case-control study in Kota Bharu, Kelantan 33-38 Download
Factors associated with self-assessed masticatory ability among community-dwelling elderly Japanese 39-44 Download
The use of occlusal indices in high-impact literature 45-48 Download
Oral health status of a group of illicit drug users in Delhi, India 49-54 Download
Promoting Positive Health Behaviours – ‘Tooth Worm’ Phenomenon and its Implications 55-61 Download
Development and testing of a theory-based behavioural change intervention: A pilot investigation in a nursery school in a deprived area of Scotland 62-67 Download
The oral health status of Special Olympics athletes in Belgium 68-73 Download
Coincidence and awareness of oral parafunctions in college students 74-77 Download
Illness-related behaviour and sociodemographic determinants of oral health care use in Dabou, Côte d’Ivoire 78-84 Download
Number of teeth and its association with central obesity in older Southern Brazilians 85-89 Download
Perception of oral health related quality of life (OHQoL-UK) among periodontal risk patients before and after periodontal therapy 90-94 Download
Dental Fluorosis, Dental Caries, and Quality of Life Factors among Schoolchildren in a Colombian Fluorotic Area 95-99 Download
Relationship of Periodontal Disease to Pre-term Low Birth Weight Infants in a Selected Population - A Prospective Study. 100-105 Download
Dental Enamel Defects in Italian Children with Cystic Fibrosis: an observational study 106-109 Download
Orofacial pain symptoms and associated disability and psychosocial impact in community-dwelling and institutionalized elderly in Hong Kong 110-116 Download
Association of hyposalivation with oral function, nutrition and oral health in community-dwelling elderly Thai 117-123 Download
Assessment of the relationship between perceptions of dental aesthetics and demand for orthodontic treatment in 10 – 11 year old school children in Birmingham, UK. 124-128 Download


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