Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Mary Shaw

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Elena Bastida

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Florence George

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kathryn Hartlieb

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

H. Virginia McCoy

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Oral Health, Preschoolers, Preschool Children, Parental Attitudes

Date of Defense



Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions that affect children in the U.S. Non-Hispanic Blacks are among the children facing the greatest racial and ethnic disparities in caries experience and treatment. Parents play a significant role in ensuring the success of preventative measures aimed at reducing prevalence of early childhood caries. It is therefore important for public health professionals to understand the oral health, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of Black parents in order to effectively design and tailor interventions for caries prevention among preschool children.

The twofold purpose of this study was to: (a) determine whether attitudes, beliefs of Black parents predict behaviors about preventative measures against caries for their preschool children, and (b) determine whether the attitudes and beliefs about caries preventive behaviors vary between different ethnic groups of Blacks in Miami-Dade County.

The cross sectional study utilized an oral health survey comprised of a modified version of the CDHQ, and the Nutrition Questionnaire for Children to examine attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of Black parents. The study sample included 192 African American, Haitian, and Afro-Caribbean parents of 3-5 year-old children in Miami-Dade County.

Logistic regression and Chi Square analysis were used to answer the research questions and hypotheses. Perceived seriousness of decay, parental efficacy to brush child’s teeth, and chance control are significant predictors of children using toothpaste and parents brushing children’s teeth twice a day (pp

Health educators can play a major role in designing and delivering quality oral health and disease prevention interventions for parents of preschoolers. Clearly there are opportunities to complement school-based oral health education for preschool children with a culturally appropriate parental component. The between group differences indicate that interventions need to be more specifically tailored to the racial/ethnic group intended to receive the intervention in order to have greater effectiveness.





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