Parental and family-related influences on dental caries in children of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin

D. Duijster*, M. de Jong-Lenters, C. de Ruiter, J. Thijssen, C. van Loveren, E. Verrips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


ObjectivesThe aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationship between parental and family-related factors and childhood dental caries in a sample of 5- to 6-year-old children of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin. Furthermore, the relationship of parental and family-related factors with social class and ethnicity was examined. MethodsThe study sample included 92 parent-child dyads (46 cases and 46 controls), which were recruited from a large paediatric dental centre in The Hague, the Netherlands. Cases were children with four or more decayed, missing or filled teeth, and controls were caries free. Validated questionnaires were used to collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, oral health behaviours, parents' dental self-efficacy and locus of control (LoC), parenting practices and family functioning. Parenting practices were also assessed using structured video observations of parent-child interactions. ResultsParents of controls had a more internal LoC, and they were more likely to show positive (observed) parenting in terms of positive involvement, encouragement and problem-solving, compared to cases (P<0.05). Lower social class was significantly associated with a lower dental self-efficacy, a more external LoC and poorer parenting practices. Furthermore, LoC was more external in Moroccan and Turkish parents, compared to Dutch parents. ConclusionParents' internal LoC and observed positive parenting practices on the dimensions positive involvement, encouragement and problem-solving were important indicators of dental health in children of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish origin. Findings suggest that these parental factors are potential mediators of socioeconomic inequalities in children's dental health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • behavioural science
  • caries
  • family
  • pediatric dentistry
  • social inequalities

Cite this