International journal of paediatric dentistry / the British Paedodontic Society [and] the International Association of Dentistry for Children vol:23 issue:2 pages:84-93
International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry 2012 Background. At present, our understanding of the use of dental care services is incomplete, certainly where preschool children are concerned. Objectives. To investigate what proportion of 3- and 5-year-olds living in Flanders (Belgium) have already visited the dentist, to describe parents' experience about their child's dental visit, and to explore factors that may have an impact on children's early dental visit. Design. Data were collected from 1057 children; validated questionnaires were completed, and children were examined by trained dentist at ages 3 and 5. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explain dental attendance. Results. At the age of 3, 62% and by 5 years, 21% had never visited the dentist. The first dental visit was considered a pleasant experience for the majority of children. Multivariable regression analyses revealed that children who were not first born, whose mothers had a higher educational level and whose parents had recently visited the dentist, had significantly higher odds for having visited the dentist at young age. Conclusions. Parents of young children need to be informed about and motivated for an early dental visit. Promotion campaigns should focus on firstborn children, children from less educated parents, and parents who do not regularly see a dentist.