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J Am Dent Assoc. 2011 Feb;142(2):173-83.

Assessing the relationship between children's oral health status and that of their mothers.

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National Center for Health Statistics, 3311 Toledo Road, Room 4416, Hyattsville, Md. 20782, USA.



The authors conducted a study to describe the relationship between the oral health of young children and that of their mothers.


Using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and a related birth certificate-linked file, the authors compiled a sample of 1,184 mother/child pairs for children aged 2 through 6 years. The authors performed logistic and cumulative logistic regression analyses by using children's caries experience and untreated caries status as dependent variables. They evaluated the mothers' untreated caries status and tooth loss status along with other covariates, including age, race/ethnicity and poverty status.


Children of mothers who had high levels of untreated caries were more than three times as likely (odds ratio [OR], 3.5; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.0-6.2) to have higher levels of caries experience (treated or untreated dental caries) compared with children whose mothers had no untreated caries. A similar relationship was observed between mothers' tooth loss and caries experience among their children. The children of mothers with high levels of tooth loss were more than three times as likely (OR, 3.3; 95 percent CI, 1.8-6.4) to have higher levels of caries experience compared with children of mothers with no tooth loss; for mothers with moderate tooth loss, the OR was 2.3 (95 percent CI, 1.5-3.5).


Mothers' oral health status is a strong predictor of the oral health status of their children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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