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Dental erosion and soft drinks: A qualitative assessment of knowledge, attitude and behaviour using focus groups of schoolchildren. A preliminary study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Paula WaterhouseORCiD


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Objectives. This qualitative study was designed to record the perception by Newcastle children of the influences on their choice of drinks and their knowledge of the dental health problems caused by acidic drinks. Methods. Four focus groups, each involving 8 Newcastle schoolchildren (4 boys and 4 girls) formed the basis of the study. Two age groups, 13-14-year-olds and 8-9-year-olds, and two socio-economic groups were investigated, using state schools in Newcastle upon Tyne. A moderator guided the children to discuss their choice of drink and its dental effects amongst themselves. Results. In total, 32 children participated in the focus groups and the results suggested that 8-9-year-olds preferred still, fruit-flavoured drinks whilst 13-14-year-olds preferred carbonated drinks. Taste was the most important influence on drink choice in all age groups. Parents and friends were more influential in younger children, whilst cost, availability and thirst were more important to older children. Younger children did not believe advertisements whilst older children thought they might work if seen enough times. Dental knowledge was confused in all age groups and only the 13-14-year-old-high socio-economic groups knew that acidic drinks were bad for the teeth. Different methods for addressing the problem of erosion were suggested by different age groups. There was very little difference between the socio-economic groups in the areas discussed. Conclusions. The children's knowledge of dental diseases and the effect of drinks on the teeth were confused. The factors that influence drink choice appear to change with age, rather than socio-economic status.

Publication metadata

Author(s): May J, Waterhouse PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry

Year: 2003

Volume: 13

Issue: 6

Pages: 425-433

Print publication date: 01/11/2003

ISSN (print): 0960-7439

ISSN (electronic): 1365-263X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-263X.2003.00500.x

PubMed id: 14984049


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