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Public Health


Vasileios Margaritis


Poor oral care is detrimental to the overall health of the population. In the United States, oral health diseases affect millions of individuals, especially children and adolescents. Guided by the health belief model, the purpose of this study was to identify parents' perceived barriers to oral health care access among their 5- to 10-year-old children. A phenomenological approach was used to gather data and thematically analyze interview data from 20 parents who were recruited from a health center in the northeastern United States. All participants had at least one child between 5-10 years old and all identified as under-served. Data were coded and analyzed for emerging themes, with the assistance of Nvivo software. The findings demonstrated that lack of time, the location of dental facilities, and the lack of sensitivity of dental providers were issues for parents in managing their children's oral health. This study might be beneficial in eliciting positive social change at the individual and organizational levels by illuminating the constraints faced by the underserved population in Massachusetts.