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Health Education for Moms Could Help Kids' Teeth
April 3, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - A one-time oral health education session for moms may help to reduce tooth decay in their young children, a German study has found.

The study included 471 children. Their mothers were visited in the hospital, just after giving birth. Mothers were instructed on how to care for the child's mouth and teeth, as well as their own. After 5 years, the children were compared with a group of similar children whose mothers had not received the instruction.

Of the children whose mothers participated in the oral health instruction, about 33% had tooth decay by age 5. Among children whose mothers did not participate, 43% had tooth decay.

Some children had 3 or more teeth affected by tooth decay by age 5. Researchers found that certain factors were related to having more decay:

  • Ethnicity
  • Family income
  • Age at which brushing started
  • Whether parents supervised brushing
  • Use of fluoride toothpaste

Other studies have shown that oral health education for pregnant women and new mothers may help to reduce the risk of tooth decay in their children for years afterward.

The German study appears in the April issue of the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

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