Objective: To investigate the relationship between mothers' sense of coherence (SOC) and their adolescent children's oral health. SOC is the central construct of the salutogenesis model of health, which seeks to explain factors that promote health.
Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Goiânia-GO, Brazil, on 664 15-year-old children randomly selected from schools, and their mothers. Data were collected through questionnaires, the short version of Antonovsky's SOC Scale (13-item) and clinical dental examinations. Multiple logistic regression and polytomous ordered regression were used in the data analysis. Two sets of outcome variables were selected for the analyses: oral health status (dental caries, oral cleanliness, and periodontal disease), and oral health-related behaviours (daily frequency of sugar intake, toothbrushing frequency, and pattern of dental attendance).
Results: Adolescents whose mothers had higher levels of SOC score had lower levels of dental caries and gingival bleeding after probing, and were less likely to visit the dentist mainly when in trouble than those whose mothers had lower levels of SOC.
Conclusion: Mothers' SOC was associated with their children's levels of dental caries and periodontal disease, as well as pattern of dental attendance. Interventions designed to improve or maintain the oral health of young people should take into consideration the family environment.