Objectives: This study aimed to clarify the importance of dental support for eating problems of infants, young children and disabled children, based on a questionnaire survey administered to dentists and guardians. Materials and methods: The respondents consisted of 1001 dentists, pediatric dentistry administrators randomly selected by each prefectural or municipal dental association, and 1031 guardians of preschoolers who attended kindergartens or children's day-care centers. Answers were received from 712 dentists and 844 guardians. We compared answers to question No. 16 for dentists and questions No. 23 & 26 for guardians. Furthermore, we compared free comments to question No. 16 for dentists and answers to No. 27 for guardians. Question No. 27 for dentists and question No. 21 for guardians similarly asked about children's eating problems, and we thus next compared the tendencies noted in answers to these questions. In addition, a componential analysis was conducted for free text answers to question No. 31 for dentists and question No. 34 for guardians to qualitatively examine “free comments to children's eating problems”. Free comments were statistically analyzed using a text-mining approach in IBM SPSS Text Analytics for Surveys. Results: The results revealed that guardians had more concerns about the following issues (relative to dentists): “vegetables” (23-fold) and “picky eating/fad eating/biased eating” (eight-fold). Issues of more concern to dentists (relative to guardians) were “mastication/chewing” (two-fold) and “dental caries/decay” (1.3-fold). Conclusions: This study suggested that guardian's anxieties regarding children's eating problems have variable background factors.
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