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Exploring Mothers’ Perspectives About Why Grandparents in Appalachia Give Their Grandchildren Cariogenic Foods and Beverages: A Qualitative Study

  • Kevin C. Lu
    Affiliations
    University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
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  • Zelda T. Dahl
    Affiliations
    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Robert J. Weyant
    Affiliations
    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Daniel W. McNeil
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychology, Eberly College of Arts & Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

    Department of Dental Public Health and Professional Practice, School of Dentistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, Department of Dental Public Health and Professional Practice, School of Dentistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
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  • Betsy Foxman
    Affiliations
    Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Both authors contributed equally to this work as senior authors.
    Mary L. Marazita
    Footnotes
    ∗ Both authors contributed equally to this work as senior authors.
    Affiliations
    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Department of Human Genetics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Clinical and Translational Science, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Both authors contributed equally to this work as senior authors.
    Jacqueline M. Burgette
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jacqueline Burgette, DMD, PhD, Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
    Footnotes
    ∗ Both authors contributed equally to this work as senior authors.
    Affiliations
    Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Departments of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    ∗ Both authors contributed equally to this work as senior authors.
Published:April 04, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2022.04.001

      Abstract

      Background

      Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease. Past studies revealed that grandparents provide their grandchildren with cariogenic foods and beverages (eg, those with free sugars and/or modified starches). Qualitative research can help identify what drives this phenomenon.

      Objective

      Our aim was to examine mothers’ explanations for why grandparents in north central and central Appalachia give their grandchildren cariogenic foods and beverages.

      Design

      A qualitative study on children’s oral health in Pennsylvania and West Virginia from 2018 through 2020 was performed. In-person, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Qualitative data from interviews were recorded, transcribed, and then coded using NVivo. Data analysis for this study was performed using thematic analysis with iterative theme development.

      Participants/setting

      The participants were 126 mothers of children aged 3-5 years from West Virginia (n = 66) and Pittsburgh, PA (n = 60).

      Main outcome measures

      Mothers’ perspectives about why grandparents give their grandchildren cariogenic foods and beverages were analyzed.

      Results

      In the study sample, 85% of mothers (n = 107/126) named at least 1 of their children’s grandparents as a member of their social network responsible for their children’s oral health. From these interviews, 85% of mothers (n = 91/107) discussed that grandparents gave their grandchildren cariogenic foods and beverages. The mothers described the following 4 themes to explain why grandparents gave their grandchildren cariogenic foods and beverages: privilege of the grandparent role; responsibilities of the grandparent role; symbol of care and affection; and limited consideration or understanding of the detrimental impact.

      Conclusions

      Grandparents play a role in giving their grandchildren cariogenic foods and beverages, which could potentially contribute to childhood caries. Research is needed to develop effective social interventions to help some grandparents understand the implications of a cariogenic diet on their grandchildren’s oral health and/or decrease their provision of cariogenic foods and beverages.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      K. C. Lu is a BS candidate, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA and student trainee, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

      Biography

      Z. T. Dahl is a research assistant, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia and a research assistant, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

      Biography

      R. J Weyant is a researcher, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia and professor and chair, Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

      Biography

      D. W. McNeil is a researcher, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, Eberly Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, Eberly College of Arts & Sciences, and a clinical professor, Department of Dental Public Health and Professional Practice, School of Dentistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.

      Biography

      B. Foxman is Hunein F. and Hilda Maassab Endowed Professor, and director, Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

      Biography

      M. L. Marazita a director, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, a distinguished professor, Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, co-director, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, School of Dental Medicine, professor, Department of Human Genetics, Graduate School of Public Health, and a professor, Clinical and Translational Science, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

      Biography

      J. M. Burgette is a researcher, Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, and an assistant professor, Departments of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.