Characteristics of African-American Male Caregivers in a Study of Oral Health in Detroit – A Brief Communication

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Abstract

Objective:

The role of fathers among African-American men, particularly related to oral health, has received relatively little scholarly attention. This paper describes the characteristics of African-American men who self-identified as primary caregiver to an index child participating in the Detroit Dental Health Project.

Methods:

Of 1,021 caregiver–child pairs recruited to this oral health study, 52 were male. Data were collected at a central site in Detroit on: 1) demographics; 2) social support; 3) oral health beliefs, behaviors, and knowledge; 4) caregivers' and child's oral health.

Results:

Participants reported good availability of social support and high perceived self-efficacy to take care of their child's teeth, yet, they possessed limited knowledge on preventing oral health problems. Moreover, male caregivers had high levels of caries, missing teeth, and poor hygiene.

Conclusions:

Findings may inform the development of effective interventions aimed at male caregivers to improve knowledge and understanding of the caries process, particularly concerning their children.

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