Oral disease in early childhood is highly prevalent and costly and impacts on the child and family with significant societal costs. Current approaches have largely failed to improve young children's oral health. This paper proposes a different approach to conceptualize poor oral health in preschool children (0-5 years) using social practices. Social practice theory offers an innovative perspective to understanding oral health by shifting emphasis away from the individual and onto how practical, social and material arrangements around the oral health of preschool children exist, change or become embedded in the social structures they inhabit. This novel approach contributes to the growing theoretical understanding in this area and has the potential to offer insights into the problem and ways it might be addressed.
- early childhood caries
- psychosocial aspects of oral health
- social determinants