The British Dental Health Foundation believes a new study showing how a mother’s knowledge is key to their child’s oral health is a timely reminder of how important their early years are.
The study3 concluded that mothers who were more able to handle stresses in their environment had children with better oral health. According to the research, mothers with higher maternal factors when their child was three years old resulted in a better oral hygiene for their child, more visits to the dentist and more preventive treatments.
The research speculated that mothers with better maternal instincts are more attentive to the oral hygiene and dental needs of their children, leading to a reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
The early years of children’s lives are a time of rapid development, none more so than their teeth. Even prior to entering pre-school, a child’s learning and understanding is largely based on experiences from within their family and home environment. That is why Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes the study reinforces the importance of ensuring good oral health for your child as early as possible.
Dr Carter said: “The study builds on previous work that suggests mothers have a key role to play when it comes to the development of their child’s oral hygiene. What mums should remember is that looking after your baby’s oral health starts during pregnancy.
“Good nutrition for the mother during those nine months is crucial for your baby’s teeth to develop correctly. It is also worth knowing that due to hormonal changes your gums may bleed more easily, so the Foundation advises more regular visits to the dentist and a higher level of oral health.
“It is not just a child’s mum who can help their oral health. The responsibility to improve oral health lies with each and every one of us. Poor dental health is constantly being linked with a variety of diseases, while too many people do not visit their dentist as often as recommended.
“If we can reach out to the non-attenders and encourage them to follow the Foundation’s three key messages, of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly there is no reason the oral health of the nation and future generations cannot improve even more.”
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, analysed data from a long-term study involving the dental records of 224 teenagers and questionnaires from their mothers.
“Early Maternal Psychosocial Factors Are Predictors for Adolescent Caries”, S. Nelson, W. Lee, J.M. Albert, and L.T. Singer.
J DENT RES September 2012 91: 859-864, first published on July 20, 2012 doi:10.1177/0022034512454434
Source: The British Dental Health Foundation