EPMA Journal

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 187–193 | Cite as

The influence of mothers’ oral health behaviour and perception thereof on the dental health of their children

  • Jana Olak
  • Minh Son Nguyen
  • Thuy Trang Nguyen
  • Bui Bao Tien Nguyen
  • Mare Saag



The study aims to investigate how mothers’ oral health behaviour and perception thereof influence the dental health in their children.


A total of 556 Vietnamese mother–child pairs participated in the current study. Mothers self-reported their oral status and oral health behaviour and perception. Dental caries of the children were examined using the index of decayed, missing, and filled teeth. The Dental Anxiety Scale instrument was used to assess the dental anxiety level in mothers and children.


Among mothers, 41.3% had gingival bleeding, 40% perceived their dentition and gingival status to be at a good level, 68% brushed their teeth more than twice a day, and 17% had never visited a dentist. Mothers’ oral health behaviour and their perception thereof were positively correlated with their frequency of dental visits (r = (0.105–0.221), p < 0.001) and negatively correlated with dental anxiety (r = (− 0.149– − 0.105), p < 0.05).

Caries-free children were positively correlated with mothers having more than 20 teeth (r = 0.085, p < 0.05). Positive correlations between mothers and children were found in terms of frequency of fresh fruits consumption (r = 0.090, p < 0.05), drinking sweet beverages (r = 0.072, p < 0.05), and dental anxiety (r = 0.183, p < 0.001).


Maternal oral health was significantly associated with dental health of their children. Not only did maternal dental anxiety influence oral health of mothers but it was also a concomitant factor in the development of children’s dental anxiety. The education programme on mothers’ oral health-related knowledge can be a target for improvement of the oral health of mothers and children.


Children Dental anxiety Mother Predictive preventive personalised medicine Prediction of high-risk caries Prevention of dental caries Oral behaviour and perception 



The authors would like to thank the dental staff of Da Nang University of Medical Technology and dental hygienists of Hoa Lu, Le Quy Don, Nguyen Du, Phu Dong, and Vo Thi Sau schools for their supports in collecting data.


This study was funded by Estonian Science Foundation (Grant number 9255).

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was registered and approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy and performed in accordance with the World Medical Association’s Helsinki Declaration. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with these ethical standards. Informed consent letter with detailed descriptions of the aims and procedures of the study was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Paula JS, Leite IC, Almeida AB, Ambrosano GM, Pereira AC, Mialhe FL. The influence of oral health conditions, socioeconomic status and home environment factors on schoolchildren’s self-perception of quality of life. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2012;10:6. Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sujlana A, Pannu PK. Family related factors associated with caries prevalence in the primary dentition of five-year-old children. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2015;33:83–7. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wigen TI, Espelid I, Skaare AB, Wang NJ. Family characteristics and caries experience in preschool children. A longitudinal study from pregnancy to 5 years of age. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2011;39:311–7. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tachalov VV, Orekhova LY, Kudryavtseva TV, Isaeva ER, Loboda ES. Manifestations of personal characteristics in individual oral care. EPMA J. 2016;7:8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Saied-Moallemi Z, Virtanen JI, Ghofranipour F, Murtomaa H. Influence of mothers’ oral health knowledge and attitudes on their children’s dental health. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2008;9:79–83. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Shearer DM, Thomson WM, Broadbent JM, Poulton R. Maternal oral health predicts their children’s caries experience in adulthood. J Dent Res. 2011;90:672–7. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mattila M-L, Rautava P, Sillanpää M, Paunio P. Caries in five-year-old children and associations with family-related factors. J Dent Res. 2000;79:875–81.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Binks C, Duane B. Mother-to-child transmission of Streptococcus mutans. Evid Based Dent. 2015;16:39–40. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Harris R, Nicoll AD, Adair PM, Pine CM. Risk factors for dental caries in young children: a systematic review of the literature. Community Dent Health. 2004;21:71–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Olak J, Mändar R, Karjalainen S, Söderling E, Saag M. Dental health and oral mutans streptococci in 2-4-year-old Estonian children. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2007;17:92–7. Scholar
  11. 11.
    da Silva BV, Freitas-Fernandes LB, Fidalgo TK, Martins C, Mattos CT, de Souza IP, et al. Mother-to-child transmission of Streptococcus mutans: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Dent. 2015;43:181–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Carlsson SG, Wide BU, Lundgren J, Hakeberg M. Dental anxiety-a joint interest for dentists and psychologists. Eur J Oral Sci. 2013;121:221–4. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Olak J, Saag M, Honkala S, Nõmmela R, Runnel R, Honkala E, et al. Children’s dental fear in relation to dental health and parental dental fear. Stomatologija. 2013;15:26–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Peres MA, de Oliveira Latorre Mdo R, Sheiham A, Peres KG, Barros FC, Hernandez PG, et al. Social and biological early life influences on severity of dental caries in children aged 6 years. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2005;33:53–63. Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kunin AA, Evdokimova AY, Moiseeva NS. Age-related differences of tooth enamel morphochemistry in health and dental caries. EPMA J. 2015;6:3.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Deus LFA, Moura MSM, Toledo OA. Dental caries in children that participated in a dental program providing mother and child care. J Appl Oral Sci. 2006;14:53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Plutzer K, Spencer AJ. Efficacy of an oral health promotion intervention in the prevention of early childhood caries. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2008;36:335–46. Scholar
  18. 18.
    Loc GD, Spencer AJ, Roberts-Thomson KF, Hai DT, Thuy TN. Oral health status of Vietnamese adults: findings from the National Oral Health Survey of Vietnam. Asia-Pac J Public Health Asia-Pac. 2011;23:228–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nguyen TT, Nguyen BBT, Nguyen MS, Olak J, Saag M. Effect of school oral health promotion programme on dental health and health behaviour in Vietnamese schoolchildren. Pediatr Dent J. 2016;26:115–21. Scholar
  20. 20.
    Corah NL. Development of a dental anxiety scale. J Dent Res. 1969;48:596.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhu L, Petersen PE, Wang HY, Bian JY, Zhang BX. Oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of adults in China. Int Dent J. 2005;55:231–41. Scholar
  22. 22.
    Watt RG, Marinho VC. Does oral health promotion improve oral hygiene and gingival health? Periodontol 2000. 2005;37:35–47. Scholar
  23. 23.
    Honkala S, Al-Ansari J. Self-reported oral health, oral hygiene habits, and dental attendance of pregnant women in Kuwait. J Clin Periodontol. 2005;32:809–14. Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cafiero C, Matarasso S. Predictive, preventive, personalised and participatory periodontology: “the 5Ps age” has already started. EPMA J. 2013;4:16.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Pähkla ER, Jõgi E, Nurk A, Pisarev H, Koppel T, Naaber P, et al. Periodontal disease in mothers indicates risk in their children. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2010;20:24–30. Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tamura K, Nakano K, Hayashibara T, Nomura R, Fujita K, Shintani S, et al. Distribution of 10 periodontal bacteria in saliva samples from Japanese children and their mothers. Arch Oral Biol. 2006;51:371–7. Scholar
  27. 27.
    Yiengprugsawan V, Somkotra T, Seubsman SA, Sleigh AC, Team TCS, et al. Oral health-related quality of life among a large national cohort of 87,134 Thai adults. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2011;9:42. Scholar
  28. 28.
    Costa VPP, Correa MB, Goettems ML, Pinheiro RT, Demarco FF. Maternal depression and anxiety associated with dental fear in children: a cohort of adolescent mothers in Southern Brazil. Braz Oral Res. 2017;31:e85. Scholar
  29. 29.
    Khawja SG, Arora R, Shah AH, Wyne AH, Sharma A. Maternal dental anxiety and its effect on caries experience among children in Udaipur, India. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9:42–5.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Busato P, Garbín RR, Santos CN, Paranhos LR, Rigo L, Busato P, et al. Influence of maternal anxiety on child anxiety during dental care: cross-sectional study. Sao Paulo Med J. 2017;135:116–22. Scholar
  31. 31.
    Moynihan PJ. The role of diet and nutrition in the etiology and prevention of oral diseases. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83:694–9.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lemke HU, Golubnitschaja O. Towards personal health care with model-guided medicine: long-term PPPM-related strategies and realisation opportunities within “horizon 2020”. EPMA J. 2014;5:8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalised Medicine (EPMA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of DentistryUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Danang University of Medical Technology and PharmacyDanangVietnam

Personalised recommendations