Early childhood caries (ECC) is a public health problem. ECC determinants can be biological, behavioral and psychosocial, the latter being the least studied. The aim of this study is to establish the association between parental stress and ECC. A cross-sectional study was carried out with children from 3 to 5 years of age who attend INTEGRA kindergartens in Temuco, Chile, The dependent variable was dmft index. The independent variable was parental stress, measured by the Spanish version of the Parenting Stress Index, short form (PSI-sf). The questionnaire was given to the main caregiver of the child. Subsequently, preschooler clinical examinations were performed by calibrated researchers. Control variables were sex, marital status, socioeconomic level, oral hygiene and cariogenic diet of the preschooler. A descriptive analysis was carried out with the sociodemographic characteristics. Fisher’s exact test, t test and ANOVA test were used to determine association between the study variables. The level of significance was p <0.05. Two hundred and two preschoolers were included (105 boys and 97 girls); the average age was 3.3 (SD 0.6). The main caregivers were mostly women, (91.0 %). Forty eight point five percent of parents presented an adequate level of stress and only 18.3 % presented a clinically significant level of stress. The prevalence of caries was 69.8 %. No association was found between high level of stress or clinically significant stress and dmft index (p> 0.05). Parents who reported worse health of their children, or who did not perform oral hygiene with their children presented a significantly higher dmft index (p <0.01). The economic income and the family composition showed to be significantly associated to a higher dmft index (p<0,05). This study showed no significant association between early childhood caries and parental stress.
KEY WORDS: early childhood caries, parental stress, health determinants.
How to cite this article
HOFER-DURÁN, P.; NUÑEZ, J.; ATALA-ACEVEDO, C.; ESPINOZA-ESPINOZA, G.; SINSAY-SCHMEISSER, J. & ZAROR, C. Absence of association between parental stress and early childhood caries in preschoolers. Int. J. Odontostomat., 14(1):220-229, 2020.