We assessed the association between the socio-economic, behavioural, psychological and oral health status factors of Korean mothers with the status of dental caries in their children using nationwide representative data from the Fourth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Children were categorized into child (CG, 6–11 years) and adolescent (AG, 12–18 years) groups. Responses from both the child and his/her mother were included in the analysis. The data for mother–child pairs were analysed using the chi-square test and multiple logistic regression of complex samples along with other covariates, including frequency of daily tooth brushing, tooth brushing before going to bed, regular dental check-up and unmet dental care needs.
The prevalence of dental caries in the CG was 2.4 times higher in children with mothers having ≥1 permanent tooth caries than in those with mothers having no caries (P < 0.001). In the AG, the risk of permanent tooth caries was higher in children with mothers who received less education and experienced stress (P < 0.05), and the risk was also higher (2.4 times) in children with mothers with ≥1 active permanent tooth caries than in those whose mothers did not have caries (P < 0.001).
The mothers’ oral health status was significantly associated with the existence of dental caries in their children, even after adjusting for child-related variables. Strategies for promoting oral health in children and adolescents by including individual and family factors based on the sociocultural background of the country will be necessary.