Caries runs in the family

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have found that mothers with untreated tooth decay are more likely to have children with the same condition.

Children of mothers with untreated tooth decay were almost twice as likely to have the same problem as children whose mothers did not have untreated decay. The authors say this finding makes it important to assess family oral health in order to properly manage a child’s oral health.

Other studies have found that parents’ dental health or tooth brushing habits are linked with children’s dental health. This study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Dental Research. It involved 179 mothers and their children (387 total). All of them lived in a part of rural California that is mostly Hispanic.

Before reaching their conclusion, the researchers adjusted their numbers to account for other factors that can affect rates of tooth decay. These include age, child’s gender, income and education.

The study also took into account whether families had dental insurance, the age when children began brushing their teeth, how often they visited the dentist and whether they had fluoride treatments or dental sealants. Both of these treatments help to prevent tooth decay.

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