Maintaining Traditions: A Qualitative Study of Early Childhood Caries Risk and Protective Factors in an Indigenous Community
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Zuckerman Coll Publ Hlth, Dept Biostat & Epidemiol
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CitationMaintaining Traditions: A Qualitative Study of Early Childhood Caries Risk and Protective Factors in an Indigenous Community 2017, 14 (8):907 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
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AbstractIn lower middle-income economies (LMIE), the nutrition transition from traditional diets to sugary foods and beverages has contributed to widespread early childhood dental caries. This qualitative study explores perceived risk and protective factors, and overall experiences of early childhood nutrition and oral health in indigenous Ecuadorian families participating in a community-based oral health and nutrition intervention. Dental exams of 698 children age 6 months through 6 years determined each child's caries burden. A convenience sample of 18 "outlier" families was identified: low-caries children with <= 2 carious teeth vs. high-caries children with >= 10 carious teeth. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with parents/caregivers explored the child's diet, dental habits, and family factors related to nutrition and oral health. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analyzed using grounded theory. In the high-caries families, proximity to highway and stores, consumption of processed-food, and low parental monitoring of child behavior were identified as risk factors for ECC (early childhood caries). In the low-caries families, protective factors included harvesting and consuming food from the family farm, remote geography, and greater parental monitoring of child behavior. The study results suggest that maintaining traditional family farms and authoritative parenting to avoid processed foods/drinks and ensure tooth brushing could improve early childhood nutrition and oral health.
NoteOpen access journal.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsBerkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) - UC Berkeley Library, UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies; UC Berkeley Center for Global Public Health; Schoeneman Foundation; American Academy of Pediatrics; Rotary International