Regular dental attendance is significant in maintaining and improving children’s oral health and well-being. This study aims to determine the factors that predict and influence dental visits in primary school children residing in the rural community of Lithgow, New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
All six primary schools of Lithgow were approached to participate in a cross-sectional survey prior to implementing water fluoridation in 2014. Children aged 6–13 years (n = 667) were clinically examined for their oral health status and parents were requested to complete a questionnaire on fluoride history, diet, last dental visit, and socio-demographic characteristics. Multiple logistic regression analyses were employed to examine the independent predictors of a 6-monthly and a yearly dental visit.
Overall, 53% of children visited a dentist within six months and 77% within twelve months. In multiple logistic regression analyses, age of the child and private health insurance coverage were significantly associated with both 6-monthly and twelve-month dental visits. In addition, each serve of chocolate consumption was significantly associated with a 27% higher odds (OR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.05-1.54) of a 6-monthly dental visit.
It is imperative that the socio-demographic and dietary factors that influence child oral health must be effectively addressed when developing the oral health promotion policies to ensure better oral health outcomes.