European Journal of Oral Sciences vol:120 issue:2 pages:153-160
Parental oral health-related beliefs have an important impact on the oral health status of their offspring; yet, they are not stable over time. This study aimed to assess the changes with time in the determinants of parental oral health-related behaviour based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, and to investigate socio-economic inequalities. The cohort consisted of the parents, mainly the mothers of 1057 children, born in 2003 and 2004 in Flanders (Belgium). According to the Theory of Planned Behaviour, validated questionnaires, completed at children’s birth, and at age three and five years, assessed parental attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioural control and intention towards three behaviours: dietary habits, oral hygiene habits and dental attendance. Linear mixed model analyses were applied. Positive parental attitudes towards oral health related behaviours increased between birth and age three, whereas the scores for subjective norms and intentions decreased. Scores remained stable between ages 3 and 5. Highly educated mothers had significantly higher scores for attitudes, perceived behavioural control and intentions than less educated mothers. Health promotion campaigns should take these natural changes and inequalities of dental beliefs into account when developing and evaluating interventions.