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© Borgis - New Medicine 2/2012, s. 39-44
Júlia Bartos1, *Judit Mészáros2
Dental Health Behaviour of Adolescents and Their Parents
1Dentist, student of Semmelweis University PhD School
Scientific counsellor: Dr. Sándor Hollós, PhD
2Psychologist, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University
Rector of Semmelweis University: Prof. Dr. Ágoston Szél
The aim of the first chapter of the two-part study is to explore and to show dental-care patterns, oral hygiene knowledge and dental fear of a given age group of Hungarian young people (12-16 years) and their parents. In the 344-person sample we applied a questionnaire made by ourselves and two standard tests (DFS and DAS) as our data-collection and research method. In the results we compared common and different aspects of the children’s and adults’ behaviour and concluded that there are some differences in the children’s and adults’ dental attitude. In the conclusions we recommend the necessary and indispensable development of the oral-hygiene culture considered a slightly neglected area and the alleviation of the phenomenon of dental fear by means of professional prevention.
People of present days do not appreciate too highly their healthy sets of teeth, though teeth have several important functions in our everyday lives: chewing, sound formation, digestion, speaking – and by no means negligible aesthetic function indispensable for feeling well, for positive self-esteem. That’s why it is essential to include and apply dental prevention in medical practice moreover educating, training and instructing specialists assisting in dental care is also of great importance in this preventive aspect and practice.
This paper touches a specific branch of health sciences, the borderland between dentistry and health promotion and describes knowledge of dental-hygiene, dental fear and the possibilities and health-promotion and psychoeducation dealing with this special field.”To examine children-population was highly reasonable since a research independent of ours (Alberth and colleagues, 2002) had already published data on the 12-14 age-group and showed that the value of the Hungarian children’s dental fear is high just like at the adult population” (1).
Unfortunately, generaly neglected oral hygiene, or its total lack means a too frequent problem in dental health education. Its development is mainly attributable to the ignorance of parents and their children, their wrong health promotion knowledge, the parents’ lack of time and indifferent attitude.”It is very difficult to set a good example, since parents themselves are ignorant and do not support their children’s education for oral hygiene because of lack of time. Their own health-culture is also on a basic level so they cannot give a good example either.” (2).
For the studied target group family patterns, oral hygiene socialisation patterns may be decisive and if the skill-level interiorization of dental hygiene culture as an everyday value and practice has not been important in the family traditions the teenager can only include it into his/her everyday life by his/her own cognition and inner motivation. Thus he/she can be followed as a good, positive model just for the reason that outer appearance, visuality, good-looking and the desire to be liked are very important in this very sensitive period of life. Moreover at this age a painful dental intervention may also become a behaviour generating fear since adolescents can react sensitively, unexpectedly, with psychic instability on events around and connected with them.
The phenomenon of dental fear is a component of the attitude towards dental issues. The development of fear is usually bound to an unambiguous cause – in the present case the idea, awareness of dental intervention, the sight of the dentist, smells typical for dental surgeries, or simply mentioning the topic may also elicit fear. ’The increased dental fear is a relatively frequent phenomenon, international data show that the involvement of West-European and North-American avarage population is between 5-15%, in certain researches there occur values even higher than this, though (3).
In a narrow and limited sense of the word dental fear can develop in an individual in connection with dental interventions and in pathological cases in such a degree that this negative emotion will induce changes in behaviour or conduct. Thus e.g. consant time delay, strenghening of defence mechanisms, abnormal inwardness, hysteria, psychosomatisation might also be concomitants and at the same time consequences of severe dental fright. The studied age group is increasedly exposed to the appearance of dental fear, since the frequent phenomenon of emotional waves, learning emotional control, struggle for forming an ideal self-image and realistic self-knowledge are the most important corollaries of adolescence.
The two-sample survey is surrendered to three main research aims: partly to explore the dental- and oral hygiene knowledge and patterns of 12-14 year-old secondary school students and their parents, partly to compare the main features of children’s and parents’ attitudes towards tooth care and dental issues and also to describe the process how parents and children learn their health behaviour and thirdly to outline the possibilities of prevention and health promotion in the development of oral hygiene culture.
Material and Methods
The sample of the research is of two age groups: 168 adolescents and 163 parents have completed the questionnaires validly. The adolescents are students in Budapest secondary schools, the survey was carried out in the schools, in different programs and in dental surgeries when the questionnaires were immediately returned. The gender distribution of the sample (tab. 1) shows that more girls than boys completed the questionnaires and the average age of the respondents was 14 years.
Table 1 . Gender distribution.
Gender distribution
students n=186 people
Average age14 years
Among the respondent parents the proportion of females was also higher and the adults’ average age was 43 years (tab. 2).
Table 2. Gender distribution II.
Gender distribution II
Parents n=163 people
Male 3119%
Average age43 years
As for the qualification of parents: most of them enjoy a higher education degree (71%) and only 13.5% don’t have a secondary shool leaving certificate at least (tab. 3).
Table 3. Parents’ questionnaire
Parents’ questionnaire
n=163 people
8-year primary school106,1%
3-year vocational training school127,4%
Vocational secondary school1811,0%
Secondary grammar school2616,0%
Higher level vocational training after matriculation2616,0%
College degree3622,0%
University degree3521,5%
In our research we used two types of questionnaires: a questionnaire of 20 coled questions made by ourselves and two standard tests. When evaluating the open questions in our own questionnaire we grouped the answers in four categories: ”complete”, ”incomplete”, ”false” and ”no answer”. Furthermore for the adolescents we used the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), which was first published in 1969 as the first test measuring dental fear (4). The scale contains four questions, each of them can be evaluated from 1 to 5 points depending on the degree of fear. So the minimum value to be obtained is four, the maximum twenty points. There are several scales for the evaluation, we accepted the ranges considered standard by Hakeberg and colleagues (3).
For parents we applied another test, the Dental Fear Scale (DFS), which was first published in 1973, contains 20 questions and the respondent can select the level of fear on a five-point scale. The evaluation categories for this test were set by Johansson (5).
Among the questions relating to the general dental and oral hygiene knowledge approximately the same proportion of parents and children (72 and 77 people) gave ”complete” i.e. correct answer to the question about the reasons for using a mouth-shower (fig. 1). ”Incomplete” answers were characteristic rather for the students (78 people), while ”false” answers were mainly given by the parents (29 people).
Fig. 1. Why to use mouth-shower?
Fig. 2. How often to change toothbrushes?

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1. Alberth M, Gál N, Nemes J, Töviskes M: Máth J. 12-14 éves gyerekek fogászati félelmének és szorongásának hatása a fogazati állapot alakulására. Fogorvosi Szemle 2002; 95: 113-117. 2. Pintér A: Néhány szó a fogszuvasodás megelőzéséről. Egészségnevelés. 34: 68-69. 3. Hakeberg M, Berggsen U, Carlsson S: Preveloance of dental axiety ina n adult population in a major urban area in Sweden. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1992; 20: 97-101. 4. Fábián TK és munkatársai: A Dental Fear Survey (a„Fogászati félelem kérdőív) magyar fordítása, hazai populáción végzett mérések eredményei. Fogászati Szemle 1999; 92:307-315. 5. Jonasson P, Berggsen U: Assessement of dental fear. A comparison of two psychometric instruments. Acta Odontol Scand 1992; 50: 43-49. 6. Fábián G: A fogászati félelem okai, prevenciója és terápiás lehetőségei, különös tekintettel az orthodontiai és gyermekfogászati gyakorlatra, PhD értekezés 2008, p.125. Semmelweis Egyetem, Budapest.
otrzymano: 2012-05-07
zaakceptowano do druku: 2012-05-25

Adres do korespondencji:
*Judit Mészáros
Semmelweis University Faculty of Health Sciences
17 Vas St. 1088 – Budapest, Hungary
tel.: +36 1 486 5910
e-mail: meszarosj@se-etk.hu

New Medicine 2/2012
Strona internetowa czasopisma New Medicine