Child-, Family-, and Community-Level Facilitators for Promoting Oral Health Practices among Indigenous Children
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Despite the preventive nature of oral diseases and their significance for general wellbeing, poor oral health is highly prevalent and has unfavourable ramifications for children around the world. Indigenous children in Australia experience disproportionate rates of early childhood caries compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. Therefore, this paper aims to collate parental experiences and generate an understanding of facilitators for Indigenous childhood oral health. This project aggregated stories from parents of Indigenous children across South Australia who were participants in an early childhood caries-prevention trial. This paper explores facilitators for establishing oral health and nutrition behaviours for Indigenous children under the age of three through reflexive thematic analysis. Fisher-Owens’ conceptual model for influences on children’s oral health is utilised as a framework for thematic findings. Child-level facilitators include oral hygiene routines and regular water consumption. Family-level facilitators include familial ties, importance of knowledge, and positive oral health beliefs. Community-level facilitators include generational teaching, helpful community resources, and holistic health care. Recommendations from findings include the following: exploration of Indigenous health workers and elder participation in oral health initiatives; inclusion of Indigenous community representatives in mainstream oral health discussions; and incorporation of child-level, family-level, and community-level facilitators to increase support for efficacious oral health programs.
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National Health and Medical Research Council