A Mother’s Emotional Health can Affect Her Child’s Oral Health

There is an old saying that goes something like this:  “If mother isn’t happy, then nobody is happy”. Interesting idea, but it holds some truth. Traditionally, mother often plays the role of primary caregiver in raising children and overseeing the household. Mom’s emotional state can affect the mood of the entire family. According to research from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine, mom’s emotional health may also play a role in the state of her children’s oral health. Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania explores this research, and what it could mean for mothers and their children everywhere.

Lasting Effects

The oral health study involved 224 adolescent participants. The researchers examined the oral health of the young teenagers by counting the number of decayed, filled, or missing permanent teeth, and measured levels of dental plaque, which is a key indicator of poor oral health. The researchers gathered medical information from the children and their mothers to assess the children’s wellbeing at ages 3, 8, and currently, at age 14. The information revealed that even with dental insurance and preventive measures, including fluoride treatments and dental sealants, children were still susceptible to cavities by the age 14. A complicated statistical modeling program tracked the source of poor oral health to the mother’s emotional health, education level, and knowledge of oral health at children’s ages 3 and 8. Lead investigator Suchitra Nelson says it is important for mothers to care for themselves in order to care for their children.

 Childhood Toothcare

Teaching your child to practice proper oral hygiene can prepare him/her for a lifetime of healthy, bright, and confident smiles. Twice-daily tooth brushing, and flossing at least once a day, are the staples of a healthy mouth, and the habit is usually instilled in us at an early age. If you neglect your young child’s oral health, chances are they will do the same as they grow older. As hard as it is to find the time – mom, take care of yourself.  For more information, contact Dr. Kania at our Encinitas periodontal care office by calling (706) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.