Background: Among all the oral diseases, dental caries is the most common chronic disease affecting the children. Early childhood caries is one of the most severe forms of dental caries affecting the children less than 3 years. Though dental caries is preventable, not much importance has been given to the preventive aspect of dental caries. This is because of the lack of oral health education. Vertical colonization occurs from caregiver usually mother to the child. Since mother play an important role in a child\'s life, their knowledge about child\'s oral health will have a significant impact on the child\'s oral health status. A proper knowledge for the mothers regarding infant\'s oral health care will be beneficial in reducing the burden of dental caries in children. Hence a study was conducted to evaluate the mother\'s knowledge, attitude and practice towards infant oral health care
Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among a convenient sample of 185 first time mothers with a child aged 9 to 24 months of age visiting Department of Pediatrics and Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry. Permission to carry out the study was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Board. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire used in this study was divided into two sections. The first section contained demographic details and the second section contained knowledge about primary teeth and practice of oral health care. All the participants fulfilling the inclusion criteria were enrolled. The purpose of the study and the questionnaire were explained to each participant. The questionnaire was completed and returned before leaving the clinic. The data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.
Results: Total 52.5% of the mothers responded that first tooth erupt after 6 months. A total of 86.5% of the mothers were not aware of the first dental visit. 77.8% did not agree that caries causing bacteria is transferred from mother to the child; 53% mothers did not agree that night time bottle feeding causes dental caries and 78.4% disagreed that nocturnal breastfeeding can cause dental caries in children. A total of 65.4% mothers feel dental check-up is not necessary when the first tooth erupt, and 95.7% mother did not have any information on infant oral health care. 72.4% of mothers started using toothbrush and paste after all the primary teeth erupted and only 5.9% of the mother had the knowledge about proper dispensing of toothpaste for children.
Conclusion: Overall knowledge and attitude of mothers towards oral health care of children is poor. Health care professionals like a gynecologist, pediatrician Anganwadi workers who contact first-time mothers need to be trained to disseminate appropriate infant oral health care information. The mother needs to be educated about oral health during their antenatal check up
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