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Reasons for low adherence to diet-diaries issued to pediatric dental patients: a collective case study

Authors Arheiam A, Albadri S, Laverty L, Harris R

Received 8 February 2018

Accepted for publication 16 April 2018

Published 1 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1401—1411

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S164944

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Arheiam Arheiam,1,2 Sondos Albadri,3 Louise Laverty,2 Rebecca Harris2

1Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Benghazi, Libya; 2Department of Health Services Research, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK; 3Department of Paediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Objective: Dietary habits are an important etiological factor in the development of dental caries. Several tools, such as 24-h dietary recall (retrospective) and diet-diaries (prospective), have been recommended for dietary assessment in dental practice. Diet-diaries are commonly advocated as a tool for oral health education; however, low adherence is found to be a recognized downside of their use in dental settings, as well as nutritional research more widely. However, the reasons for poor adherence to diet-diaries remain unclear. This study aimed to explore the reasons for poor adherence to diet-diaries issued to children in a dental hospital setting.
Methods: A qualitative collective case study design was employed to explore the use of diet-diaries as a health education tool. Twenty-eight data sources across 11 appointments included: observation of dentist–patient interactions, semi-structured interviews with child–parent dyads and dentists, in addition to documentary analysis of returned diet-diaries (this included 11 observations of dentist–patient interactions, 14 interviews with the child/parent dyads and dentists, and documentary analysis of three completed diet-diaries). Data from these multiple sources were integrated in a thematic analysis to identify themes and sub-themes.
Results: Two overarching themes were identified: 1) the diet-diary is perceived as a test which carries a potential for embarrassment and blame, which in turn generates defensive behavior from parents; and 2) parents’ values, priorities, and circumstances affect the level of commitment to completing a diet-diary.
Conclusion: Low adherence to diet-diary completion in clinical dentistry results from interacting factors related to the diet-diary itself, the patient, and the clinician. This study identifies a need for a more appropriate tool for dietary assessment that is patient-centered and compatible with modern lifestyles.

Keywords: adherence, diet, health education, children, dental, dietary advice

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