Oral Health Knowledge, Attitude, Practice, Perceptions and Barriers to Dental Care among Libyan Parents
Aim: To assess parental oral health knowledge, attitude, practice (KAP), perceptions of their children's oral health status, and explore the barriers to dental care utilization among Libyan parents living in Malaysia.
Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among Libyan parents of children aged 1- 7 years old who lived in Malaysia. A 63-items questionnaire was constructed, validated, and pretested. Six hundred self-administered questionnaires were distributed Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS version 22.0. A generalized Linear Model was used to test the possible relationships between KAP scores and different sociodemographic factors. A significant level for all the statistical tests was predetermined at p?0.05.
Results: A total of 381 questionnaires were included, of which fathers' responses constituted 189 (49.6%), and mothers' responses constituted 192 (50.4%). Most of the parents exhibited good oral health knowledge (77.2%), positive attitudes (86.4%), and were adherent to good oral health practice (78.7%) with mean values of 10.6 (SD=1.8), 9.5 (SD=1.5), and 7.9 (SD=1.4) respectively. Gender, age, and income had statistically significant relationships (p<0.05) with KAP scores. The majority (81.1%) of parents rated their child's oral health as good. More than one-third of parents (35.7%) perceived no need for dental care, and 18.6% perceived no need to treat the primary teeth as they will be replaced.
Conclusion: Good Knowledge and positive attitudes towards oral health are not necessarily translated into favorable practices. The lack of perceived need and low value attributed to primary teeth created barriers to seek dental care services among the majority of surveyed parents. Attention must be directed to behavior change strategies rather than providing oral health education alone to improve the children's oral health outcomes.
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