Purpose: The present study examined associations between the oral health behaviour (OHB) of Iranian mothers and the OHB and oral health status of their children. Materials and Methods: In 2005, two self-administered questionnaires provided data on the OHB of a random sample of 9- year-old children (n = 459) and their mothers in Tehran, Iran. Brushing frequency, use of fluoridated toothpaste and number of sugary snacks between meals served as oral self-care (OSC) assessment criteria for both. A clinical examination was performed for children at school. DMFT/dmft values, the restoration index (RI) and the unmet treatment needs index (UTN) facilitated an assessment of childrens dental status and treatment. Chi-square test, bivariate correlation, and binary logistic regression model were employed in these analyses. Results: Mothers OSC correlated with childs OSC (r = 0.18; p < 0.01). The reported childrens brushing frequency correlated with mothers brushing frequency (r = 0.2; p < 0.01). High maternal OSC levels were associated with lower dental treatmemt (DT) values in children (p < 0.01). Childrens RI was positively and UTN negatively associated with mothers OSC (p < 0.01). In the model, mothers OSC (OR = 2.1) and female gender (OR = 2.1) were associated with childrens OSC, while mothers OSC was strongly associated with DT (OR = 11.0) and RI (OR = 34.0) in children. Conclusions: Higher OSC levels of the surveyed mothers were reflected positively in the oral health status and behaviour of their offspring. The potential of mothers to play a significant role in the oral health of their children should be kept in mind when developing oral health promotion programmes.
Keywords: child behaviour, dental health, maternal behaviour, oral health behaviour, oral self-care