Background: Using community-based participatory research, the Health Protection Model was used to understand the cultural experiences, attitudes, knowledge and behaviors surrounding caries etiology, its prevention and barriers to accessing oral health care for children of Latino parents residing in Central Indiana. Methods: A community reference group (CBPR) was established and bi-lingual community research associates were used to conduct focus groups comprised of Latino caregivers. Transcripts were analyzed for thematic content using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Results indicated significant gaps in parental knowledge regarding caries etiology and prevention, with cultural underlays. Most parents believed the etiology of caries was related to the child's ingestion of certain foods containing high amounts of carbohydrates. Fewer parents believed either genetics/biological inheritance or bacteria was the primary causative factor. Fatalism negatively impacted preventive practices, and a clear separation existed concerning the perceived responsibilities of mothers and fathers to provide for the oral needs of their children. Females were more likely to report they were primarily responsible for brushing their children's teeth, overseeing the child's diet and seeking dental care for the child. Fathers believed they were primarily responsible for providing the means to pay for professional care. Perceived barriers to care were related to finances and communication difficulties, especially communicating with providers and completing insurance forms. Conclusion: The main study implication is the demonstration of how the CBPR model provided enhanced understanding of Latino caregivers' experiences to inform improvements in oral prevention and treatment of their children. Current efforts continue to employ CBPR to implement programs to address the needs of this vulnerable population.
- Child health
- Community-based-participatory research
- Focus groups
- Oral health
ASJC Scopus subject areas