Learning from caries-free children in a high-caries American Indian population


Authors: Albino J1, Tiwari T, Henderson WG, Thomas J, Bryant LL, Batliner TS, Braun PA, Wilson A, Quissell DO.



We aimed to identify salutogenic patterns of parental knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that may support resistance to early childhood caries (ECC) among a high caries population of preschool American Indian (AI) children.


Participants were 981 child-parent dyads living on a Southwestern reservation who completed baseline assessments for an ongoing randomized clinical trial. T-tests were used to assess differences between reported knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs of parents whose children were caries-free (10.7 percent) and those whose children had caries (89.3 percent). Chi-square analyses were used for categorical variables.


Although there were no socio-demographic differences, parents of caries-free children viewed oral health as more important and reported more oral health knowledge and adherence to caries-preventing behaviors for their children. Parents of caries-free children were more likely to have higher internal locus of control, to perceive their children as less susceptible to caries, and to perceive fewer barriers to prevention. These parents also had higher sense of coherence scores and reported lower levels of personal distress and community-related stress.


Effective interventions for ECC prevention in high-caries AI populations may benefit from approaches that support and model naturally salutogenic behaviors.

© 2014 American Association of Public Health Dentistry.


Caries-free children; early childhood caries; parental behavior; salutogenic behaviors

[PubMed - in process]
[Available on 2015/9/1]