This study investigated whether mothers’ knowledge about oral health of children during early ages influences the oral health care behavior of their children during adolescence and beyond.
This descriptive, cross-sectional, analytic study was carried out among 440 12-13-year-old students from 2 schools in Tehran, Iran, and their mothers in 2015. A self-report questionnaire consisting of 4 sections (demographic characteristics, socioeconomic information, oral health knowledge, and oral care behavior) was designed to assess the influence of mothers’ oral health care behavior in controlling early childhood caries (ECC) on their children’s oral health knowledge and behavior during their adulthood. Pearson’s correlation coefficient, chi-square test, and chi-square linear-by-linear association test were conducted to assess the effect of gender, father’s education, mother’s education, first dental care, first dental check-up, and teacher’s advice about oral health in school on oral health knowledge and behavior.
A positive relationship was observed between first dental check-up, oral health knowledge (P = 0.05; CI = 95%) and flossing (P < 0.001; CI = 95%). Surprisingly, no differences were found between first dental check-up and tooth brushing frequency (P = 0.26; CI = 95%).
The current study showed the importance of mothers’ knowledge and behavior toward their children’s oral health during early ages and its impact on the oral health care behavior of children in adulthood. This indicates that prevention behaviors starting as early as possible in childhood will cause better outcomes in adulthood.
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