Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 3843–3854 | Cite as

Is the caregivers’ oral health related to dental caries in children or adolescents? A systematic review

  • Mônica Gentil Mattos
  • Clarissa Avelar Fernandez
  • Danielle Masterson
  • Lucianne Cople Maia
  • Aline de Almeida NevesEmail author
Original Article



This systematic review aimed to evaluate evidence on the relation between the caregivers’ oral health condition and dental caries prevalence in their offspring.

Materials and methods

Scientific literature was searched in PubMed, Scopus, LILACS, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library databases, and Grey Literature. Observational studies were included if mentioning oral health conditions in caregivers and dental caries in offsprings. The internal validity of the selected articles was judged by two evaluators according to a previously published guideline based on eight questions (1 point each). Studies included were divided into low methodological quality (1–3 points), moderate (4–6 points), or high (7–8 points) according to the quality assessment. The GRADE approach was used to assess the quality of evidence provided by the selected studies.


Initially, 12.458 records were recovered, of which 54 full-text articles were evaluated. Hand search added 5 records, but after application of the exclusion criteria, only 16 articles which met the adopted eligibility criteria remained. Critical assessment scored one study as low, 10 moderate, and 5 with high validity. Most of the studies plotted correlations between the variables (12) while 4 studies compared DMFT (3) or ICDAS (1) scores between caries-active/caries-free children with caries experience in caregivers. Regarding the main study question, 15 studies (93.7%), containing 5704 caregivers and 5467 children/adolescents, found a significant relationship between mothers/caregivers and children’s/adolescents’ caries prevalence; one study found this relationship only for individuals showing active caries and one study did not disclose any relationship between caries prevalence in caregivers-children’s/adolescents’ pairs. The overall evidence was, however, qualified as low due to problems in the imprecision of the included studies.


Caregivers’ oral health may be considered as an important risk marker in children’s and adolescent’s caries prevalence.

Clinical relevance

Assuming the contribution of caregivers’ oral health conditions on dental caries in their offspring may help to establish control measures for such prevalent disease in the family environment.


Oral health; dental caries Mother-child relations Caregivers Child Adolescent 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Supplementary material

784_2019_2814_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mônica Gentil Mattos
    • 1
  • Clarissa Avelar Fernandez
    • 1
  • Danielle Masterson
    • 2
  • Lucianne Cople Maia
    • 1
  • Aline de Almeida Neves
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric Dentistry and OrthodonticsFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Central Library, Health Sciences CenterFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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