Visual attention to food cues and dental caries—Are they associated?

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Background: The role of diet has a key role in dental caries. Attention to food cues can be an indicator for food choices. Aim: This study investigates children's visual attention to images with healthy and unhealthy food cues and correlates it with that of their parents and with their dental caries status using eye-tracking technology. Design: A total of 30 children with and without dental caries and their 30 parents were calibrated to the eye-tracking device (Tobii Nano Pro) to ensure standardisation. Participants viewed matching images of healthy and unhealthy food cues, whereas an eye-tracking device tracked their eye movements. Children had a dental examination and were classified as children with dental caries (n = 15) and their parents (n = 15), and children without dental caries (n = 15) and their parents (n = 15). Results: In children with dental caries, visual attention duration was longer to healthy foods than to unhealthy foods. Likewise, parents of children with dental caries spent longer time looking at healthy foods than unhealthy foods. Conclusion: Our preliminary findings indicate a significant association between children's visual attention to healthy and unhealthy food cues and their dental caries status. This underscores the need for further investigation into the correlation between children's and their parents' visual attention to food, particularly in the context of children with dental caries. Such exploration holds promise for informing targeted interventions in food choice education.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13177
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2024


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