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Journal of Human Growth and Development

versão impressa ISSN 0104-1282versão On-line ISSN 2175-3598


DOMINGUES, Sidney Marcel; CARVALHO, Antônio Carlos Duarte de  e  NARVAI, Paulo Capel. Oral health and dental care: the social representations of mothers who attend a public health service. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2008, vol.18, n.1, pp. 66-78. ISSN 0104-1282.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the social representations of mothers with children aged 0 to 5 years from the Family Health Nucleus IV, at the city of Ribeirão Preto, state of São Paulo, in order to know what they think about oral health and dental care. METHODS: This is a qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were employed to collect the data, which were submitted to content analysis. RESULTS: The interviewed mothers showed an enormous difficulty to express what they think health is. For them, oral health is related to dietary and hygiene norms, and to going to the dentist. In addition, it is restricted to a concern for aesthetics, not for the function. Regarding dental treatment, it was verified that the great majority of the mothers are afraid of it, due to their previous experience with the treatment. Private dental treatment is associated with punctuality and with assistance provided in the desired way, and the treatment offered by the public sector, with delays and lack of equipment/materials. Two questions are important for them and they can be influencing the decision of going or not to the dentist: humanization and the professional's competence. CONCLUSIONS: The expression "oral health" was associated with dental assistance. The assistance provided by the private sector was characterized as the closest one to the ideal type of dental assistance.

Palavras-chave : Representations; mothers; oral health; dental care.

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