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Type: Journal article
Title: Aspirations and worries: the role of parental intrinsic motivation in establishing oral health practices for Indigenous children
Author: Poirier, B.F.
Hedges, J.
Smithers, L.G.
Moskos, M.
Jamieson, L.M.
Citation: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021; 18(21):11695-1-11695-14
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 1661-7827
Statement of
Brianna F. Poirier, Joanne Hedges, Lisa G. Smithers, Megan Moskos and Lisa M. Jamieson
Abstract: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (respectfully, subsequently referred to as Indigenous) children in Australia experience oral disease at a higher rate than non-Indigenous children. A history of colonisation, government-enforced assimilation, racism, and cultural annihilation has had profound impacts on Indigenous health, reflected in oral health inequities sustained by Indigenous communities. Motivational interviewing was one of four components utilised in this project, which aimed to identify factors related to the increased occurrence of early childhood caries in Indigenous children. This qualitative analysis represents motivational interviews with 226 participants and explores parents’ motivations for establishing oral health and nutrition practices for their children. Findings suggest that parental aspirations and worries underscored motivations to establish oral health and nutrition behaviours for children in this project. Within aspirations, parents desired for children to ‘keep their teeth’ and avoid false teeth, have a positive appearance, and preserve self-esteem. Parental worries related to child pain, negative appearance, sugar consumption, poor community oral health and rotten teeth. A discussion of findings results in the following recommendations: (1) consideration of the whole self, including mental health, in future oral health programming and research; (2) implementation of community-wide oral health programming, beyond parent-child dyads; and (3) prioritisation of community knowledge and traditions in oral health programming.
Keywords: Indigenous peoples; oral health; dental caries; public health dentistry; motivational interviewing
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph182111695
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Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

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