To (i) test the validity of the Spanish Self-Efficacy Scale for Maternal Oral Care (SESMO), (ii) compare SESMO scores among socio-demographic groups and (iii) relate mothers’ SESMO to children’s dental status.


A limited census sample included 130 children and their mothers. The SESMO was applied through an interview, and the children’s DMFT/dmft (number of decayed, missing and filled teeth) and OHI-S (oral hygiene score) were assessed through clinical examinations. To test the internal consistency and validity, the Spanish and English SESMO versions were compared. Dental status and oral hygiene were examined in different socio-demographic groups.


Most of the families were from the middle socio-economic class, and the majority of children (65%) were ≤6 years of age. Cronbach’s α was 0.82 for the English SESMO and 0.86 for the Spanish SESMO; both versions had a three-factor structure (one for each self-efficacy subscale). Overall, the factor loadings of the total and its subscale items were similar between the two SESMO versions. There was a correlation between the mothers’ self-efficacy and the children’s dental health status in deciduous dentition.


The Spanish SESMO scale had similar internal consistency and validity as the previously validated English SESMO scale. Mothers’ self-efficacy was associated with children’s dental status in deciduous dentition but not with children’s status in permanent dentition.

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