OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine caregiver treatment acceptability and preferences for five preventive dental treatments for early childhood caries in young Hispanic children.
METHODS: We interviewed 211 parents/caregivers of Hispanic children attending Head Start programs regarding their acceptability of, and preferences for, five standard preventive dental treatments for young children. Treatments assessed were toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste, fluoride varnish, and xylitol in food for children, and xylitol gum and chlorhexidine rinse for mothers. The interview assessment included presentation of illustrated cards with verbal description of treatment, photograph/video clip, and treatment samples. Parents rated the acceptability of each treatment (1-5 scale) and treatment preferences within each of 10 possible pairs. Individual treatment preferences were summed to create overall preference scores (range 0-4).
RESULTS: All treatments were rated as highly acceptable, however, there were differences (range 4.6-4.9; Friedman chi-square = 23.4, P < 0.001). Chlorhexidine, toothbrushing, and varnish were most acceptable, not different from each other, but more acceptable than xylitol in food (P < 0.05). Summed treatment preferences revealed greater variability (means ranged 1.4-2.6; Friedman chi-square = 128.2, P < 0.001). Fluoride varnish (2.6) and toothbrushing (2.5) were most highly preferred, and differences between preferences for xylitol in food (1.4), xylitol gum (1.5), and chlorhexidine (2.1) were all significant (P < 0.001). Preferences for chlorhexidine were also significantly greater than those for the xylitol products (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: All five treatments were highly acceptable, however, when choosing among treatments overall, fluoride varnish and toothbrushing were favored over other treatments.