Mother and child

A Mother’s Well-being Influences Child’s Oral Care

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If you ever think that a mom-in-distress does not affect her child’s oral health, then think again.

A new study says that a mother’s emotional health and education level during her child's earliest years influence her child’s oral health by the age of 14.

The study conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, US, involved the oral health of the teenagers and factors in their past that have influenced their oral health outcomes.

Around 224 adolescent participated in the study, and over the years, researchers gathered health and medical information from the children and their mothers to assess the child's wellbeing at age three, eight and now 14 years.

We can't ignore the environments of children. It isn't enough to tell them to brush and floss, they need more.

Data included the number of decayed, filled or missing permanent teeth, dental plaque level assessment as symptom for poor oral hygiene. Mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire about preventative treatments from sealants to mouthwashes, sweets-inclined diet, sugary juice or soft drink consumption and access to dental care and frequency of dental check-ups.

The result of the study revealed that regardless of the access to dental insurance, fluoride treatments and sealants as young children, cavities are not always prevented by the age of 14.

What did prevent cavities in teens?

"We can't ignore the environments of these children," lead researcher Suchitra Nelson said. "It isn't enough to tell children to brush and floss, they need more — and particularly from their caregivers."

The study led right back to the children’s moms - their overall emotional health, education level and knowledge when their children were at ages 3 and 8.

Moms struggling with any of the three areas resulted in higher numbers of oral health problems like tooth decay and other gum diseases.

The studies found that mothers with more education beyond high school, with healthy emotional states and knowledge about eating right had children with healthier teeth.

Nelson says moms need to care for themselves to in able for them to help their children. She compares it to the emergency instructions on an airplane that mothers put on the mask first and then their children.

"How can a mother help her child if she passes out," asks Nelson. "It's all common sense, but some mothers may need help."