Development of Resilience Links Parenting and Childhood Dental Caries
Objectives: The development of non-cognitive skills is mainly acquired by positive parenting. Higher non-cognitive skills are expected to lead to better health outcomes via favorable oral health-related behaviors. We investigated the association between parental involvement with children in the first-grade, the child’s resilience as one aspect of non-cognitive skill in the second-grade, and dental caries incidence in the fourth-grade elementary school.
Methods: The longitudinal data of 3,168 children from the Adachi Child Health Impact of Living Difficulty (A-CHILD) study were analyzed. In 2015, caregivers of all of the first-grade public elementary school children in Adachi city were asked about their involvement with children. In the second-grade, the child’s resilience was rated by the caregivers and oral health behaviors were also answered by the caregivers. The number of dental caries incidence in the fourth-grade assessed in mandatory dental checkups at school was linked. Structural Equation Modelling was applied to investigate the relationship between the variables.
Results: Thirty-seven percent of children newly developed dental caries between the second- and fourth-grades. The estimated model showed sufficient fitting (root mean squared error of approximation, RMSEA = 0.031 and comparative fit index, CFI = 0.918). Parental involvement at the first-grade was associated with higher resilience of children in the second-grade (standardized coefficient (β) = 0.402, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.357, 0.446); which was associated with favorable oral health behavior in the same year (β = 0.236, 95% CI: 0.159, 0.313). Favorable oral health behavior of children in the second-grade was inversely associated with dental caries incidence in the fourth-grade (β = −0.108, 95% CI: −0.170, −0.045).
Conclusions: Positive parenting was preventive for dental caries among elementary school children by promoting resilience and oral health behaviors.