Objectives: To assess the relationship between parental and family factors and children's toothbrushing frequency at different times of day. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of predominantly low-socio-economic status parents of children aged 3-6 years (n = 296) in South Wales, UK. Data were collected on the child's weekly toothbrushing frequency (morning and evening), the parents' rationale for brushing their child's teeth in the morning and evening, the strength of a parent's habit for brushing a child's teeth in the morning and evening, and the extent to which the family's daily routines were stable from day to day. Socio-demographic details were also collected. Results: Reported weekly brushing frequency was significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the morning (mean ± SD: 6.57 ± 1.37) than the evening (mean ± SD: 5.99 ± 2.15). Parents had significantly (p < 0.001) more interest in the cosmetic benefits of toothbrushing in the morning compared to the evening. Multivariate analysis showed that an increasing focus on the cosmetic benefits of toothbrushing was associated with significantly (p < 0.05) less weekly brushing in the evening. The extent to which brushing a child's teeth was ‘habitual' was significantly (p < 0.001) associated with weekly toothbrushing frequency at both times of day. Conclusions: Parents' rationale for brushing their children's teeth can vary at both an individual level and at different times of day. Understanding these variations is important in designing interventions to improve brushing frequency for at-risk children. The results also demonstrate habituation as being an important factor in understanding toothbrushing frequency. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms involved in habit formation and maintenance with children's oral hygiene behaviour.

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