Insights into the oral health crisis amongst pre-schoolers in Aotearoa/New Zealand: A discourse analysis of parent/caregiver experiences
journal contributionposted on 16.03.2021, 22:16 by M Roguski, Karen McBride-Henry
© 2020 The Author(s). Background: The oral health of pre-schoolers is garnering international as a crisis as good oral health is a key precursor to positive health outcomes. Internationally, and within Aotearoa/New Zealand, responses been restricted to those based in a medical model and the commercialisation of oral health. Absent from existing commentary are the lived realities of parents/caregivers beliefs, attitudes and responsiveness, or lack of, to the oral health of pre-schoolers. Methods: The researcher undertook a discursive analysis of parents/caregivers narratives to understand the barriers to engaging in effective protective behaviours. The 15 focus groups were conducted in urban and rural locations across Aotearoa/New Zealand. Results: A discursive analysis revealed several pervasive discourses, including 'second chance' and 'enjoyment' discourses, and systems-related deficits that act as barriers to engaging in good oral healthcare practices. Conclusions: The analysis demonstrates the benefit of placing the lived experiences of parents/caregivers as central to the development of oral health interventions. There is a need to link oral health data with primary care data and to distribute accurate oral health information to support parents'/caregivers' decision making. This research reveals several pervasive discourses and systems-related deficits that provide a fertile ground for future public health responsiveness.