Influence of mothers' oral health knowledge and attitudes on their children's dental health

Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2008 Jun;9(2):79-83. doi: 10.1007/BF03262614.


Aim: This was to evaluate the influence of mothers' oral health-related knowledge and attitudes on the tooth-brushing behaviour and dental health of their children and to compare the effect of these maternal aspects on child's oral health.

Study design and methods: In 2005, an oral health study conducted among a random sample of 457 mother and child pairs in Tehran, Iran, used self-administered questionnaires to provide data on mothers' oral health-related knowledge and attitudes and children's tooth-brushing behaviour. Clinical data allowed assessment of dental status of the primary and permanent dentition.

Statistics: Chi-square test and binary logistic regression models were employed.

Results: Generally, mothers had extensive knowledge of and positive attitudes towards oral health. Mothers' higher level of oral health knowledge and better attitude scores were associated with children's sound dentition (p<0.05), while only mothers' better attitude was associated with children's twice-daily tooth brushing (p=0.001). The multivariate analyses showed that children of mothers with higher attitude scores were more likely to brush their teeth twice daily (OR = 2.1; 95% CI 1.2 - 3.7) and have sound dentition (OR = 12.4; 95% CI 1.8 - 85.9). The models revealed that mother's knowledge per se had no effect on children's sound dental health, but showed an additive effect with mother's attitudes.

Conclusions: Because twice-daily tooth-brushing behaviour and sound dentition in 9-year-olds were associated with their mothers' positive oral health-related attitudes, in developing oral health promotion programs for children and adolescents, the considerable potential of mothers should be a major focus of oral health professionals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Dental Care
  • Dental Plaque / complications
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education, Dental*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / education*
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Toothbrushing


  • Dietary Sucrose