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1.  Do public health nurses in Norway promote information on oral health? 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:23.
Background
(i) to describe oral health counselling in Norway to parents with infants and toddlers, ii) to assess existing collaboration and routines in oral health matters between nurses and personnel in the PDS, iii) to evaluate to what extent oral health was integrated in the basic educational curriculum of public health nurses.
Methods
This study was based on two separate surveys: the sample of Study I was 98 randomly selected child health clinics. A questionnaire covering oral health promotion counselling of parents with young children was returned by 259 nurses. Study II was a telephone survey addressing teachers of public health nurses at the eight educational institutions in Norway.
Results
The response rate in Study I was 45%. Nutrition (breast feeding, diet) was the health subject most often prioritized in the counselling targeting parents of young children (by 60% of the nurses). Oral health was not among the first priority counselling subjects. The subject was seldom spontaneously mentioned by parents. Seventy percent of respondents reported (agreed or totally agreed) that they managed to provide information parents needed and 72% believed that the information they gave influenced parents' health behaviours. Seven nurses (5.2%) responded that they agreed with the statement that the information they gave only slightly influenced parents' health behaviour. Lack of time was mentioned as being a problem. Approximately half of the nurses (48%) had regular contact with the PDS for the 0-3 year-old children, but only a quarter of the nurses claimed that children's teeth were routinely examined at the child clinics. Some forms of previously established contact with the PDS enhanced the likelihood of nurses' referrals. Oral health was a minor part of the educational curriculum for public health nurses; at three institutions, the subject was totally absent.
Conclusion
Collaboration between nurses and the PDS in Norway could be improved. Oral health should have a bigger place in the basic educational curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-23
PMCID: PMC3189905  PMID: 21923940
2.  Parental beliefs and attitudes towards child caries prevention: assessing consistency and validity in a longitudinal design 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:1.
Background
Exploring the stability of self-reports over time in observational studies may give valuable information for the planning of future interventions. The aims of the present study were: 1) to explore the consistency of parental self-reports of oral health habits, beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care over a two-year period; 2) to evaluate possible differences in item scores and consistency between parents with different immigrant status; and 3) to assess the construct validity of items measuring parental beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care.
Methods
The sample (S1, n = 304) included parents of 3-year-old children in Oslo, Norway; 273 mothers of western origin (WN-group) and 31 of non-western origin (IM-group). They were surveyed in 2002 (child age 3 years) and in 2004 (child age 5 years). Two additional samples of parents were also included; one with 5-year old children in 2002 (S2, n = 382) and one with 3-year-old children in 2004 (S3, n = 427). The questionnaire included items measuring child oral health habits and parental beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care.
Results
In 2002, 76.8% of the parents reported that they started to brush their child's teeth before the age of 1 year. Eighty-five percent of them reported the same in 2004; 87.0% of the WN-group and 33.3% of the IM-group (P < 0.001). For 17 of 39 items measuring beliefs and attitudes the responses were more positive for the WN-compared to the IM-group. Parents of caries-free children in 2004 reported significantly more positive beliefs and attitudes towards child oral health care in 2002 compared to parents of children with caries in 2004 (P < 0.05, P < 0.01 and P < 0.001). No differences in mean item scores were found between the three samples S1, S2 and S3.
Conclusion
The results showed a fair to good consistency of parental self-reports from 2002 to 2004. They also indicate that parents with different cultural backgrounds should be evaluated separately and in a cultural context.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-1
PMCID: PMC2258292  PMID: 18215270
3.  Dental anxiety and dental attendance among 25-year-olds in Norway: time trends from 1997 to 2007 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:10.
Background
So far, there are few studies considering the development of dental anxiety and dental attendance patterns across time in the general population of Norwegian adults. This study aimed to 1) determine the frequency of dental anxiety and regular dental attendance among 25-year-olds in Norway in 1997 and 2007, 2) to study the development (time trend) of dental anxiety and the socio-behavioral distribution of dental anxiety from 1997 to 2007.
Method
Random samples of 1,190 and 8,000 25-yr-olds were drawn from the populations of three counties in Western Norway in 1997 and 2007, respectively. The eligible participants received questionnaires by mail including questions on socio-demographics, dental anxiety (DAS) and dental attendance.
Results
In 1997, 11.5% males versus 23% females reported high dental anxiety (DAS ≥ 13). Corresponding figures in 2007 were 11.3% and 19.8%. The proportions who had attended yearly for a dental check-up during the past 5 years fell from 62% in 1997 (men 56.9% and women 66.4%) to 44.6% (men 38.1% and women 48.6%) in 2007. After controlling for potential confounding factors, the 25-year-olds were 1.4 times more likely to report dental anxiety in 1997 compared to 2007. The decrease was largely attributable to a lower mean DAS score among higher educated females in 2007 than in 1997. The discrepancy in dental anxiety between regular and non-regular dental attendees had decreased, largely attributable to a decline in dental anxiety among irregular dental attendees.
Conclusion
The study showed reduced dental anxiety and dental attendance among 25 year-olds in Norway from 1997 to 2007. This study points to the importance of controlling for possible changes in socio-demographic distributions when different cohorts are compared.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-10
PMCID: PMC3068991  PMID: 21426538
dental anxiety; dental attendance; time trends
4.  Thinking about going to the dentist: a Contemplation Ladder to assess dentally-avoidant individuals' readiness to go to a dentist 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:4.
Background
The Transtheoretical Model suggests that individuals vary according to their readiness to change behavior. Previous work in smoking cessation and other health areas suggests that interventions are more successful when they are tailored to an individual's stage of change with regards to the specific behavior. We report on the performance of a single-item measure ("Ladder") to assess the readiness to change dental-avoidant behavior.
Methods
An existing Contemplation Ladder for assessing stage of change in smoking cessation was modified to assess readiness to go to a dentist. The resulting Ladder was administered to samples of English-speaking adolescents (USA), Spanish-speaking adults (USA), and Norwegian military recruits (Norway) in order to assess construct validity. The Ladder was also administered to a sample of English-speaking avoidant adolescents and young adults who were enrolled in an intervention study (USA) in order to assess criterion validity. All participants also had dental examinations, and completed other questionnaires. Correlations, chi square, t tests and one-way ANOVAs were used to assess relationships between variables.
Results
In two samples, participants who do not go to the dentist had significantly more teeth with caries; in a third sample, participants who do not go to the dentist had significantly worse caries. Ladder scores were not significantly related to age, gender, caries, or dental fear. However, Ladder scores were significantly related to statements of intention to visit a dentist in the future and the importance of oral health. In a preliminary finding, Ladder scores at baseline also predicted whether or not the participants decided to go to a dentist in the intervention sample.
Conclusions
The data provide support for the convergent and divergent construct validity of the Ladder, and preliminary support for its criterion validity. The lack of relationship between dental fear and Ladder scores suggests that avoidant individuals may be helped to decide to go to a dentist using interventions which do not explicitly target their fear.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-11-4
PMCID: PMC3045398  PMID: 21272356

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