The association between socioeconomic status, psychopathological symptom burden in mothers, and early childhood caries of their children

Autoři: Uta Knoblauch aff001;  Gerhard Ritschel aff001;  Kerstin Weidner aff001;  Sabine Mogwitz aff001;  Christian Hannig aff002;  Gabriele Viergutz aff002;  Maria Lenk aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany aff001;  Policlinic of Dental Maintenance, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article



Various maternal mental disorders and socioeconomic status [SES] are discussed as risk factors for early childhood caries [ECC]. In our study, we examined a wide range of symptoms of mental disorders with the aim to identify those maternal psychopathological symptom burdens [PSBs] which show relevant associations with ECC. Our second objective was to investigate how SES affects the associations between PSB and ECC.


In this study, sixty children with ECC (caries group [CG]) and sixty caries-free children [NON-CG] with their mothers were recruited at two sites in Germany. Children aged three or four years were included in the study. Children’s dental status [dmf-t] and plaque index were recorded, and mothers answered a multidimensional SES index (including education, profession and income) as well as screening questionnaires capturing dental anxiety, depressive disorders, generalized anxiety, somatic symptom burden, eating disorders, traumatic childhood experiences, nicotine dependency and alcohol dependency.


Mothers of the CG reported significantly higher dental anxiety (dCohen = 0.66), childhood trauma (dCohen = 0.53) and nicotine dependency (dCohen = 0.64) than the NON-CG. However, mediator analyses showed that these effects were partly mediated by the SES. Mothers of the CG had a significantly lower SES (dCohen = 0.93); with education as strongest predictor of dental status. The groups did not differ significantly in symptoms of depressiveness, subjective somatic symptom burden, alcohol dependency, eating disorders, and generalized anxiety.


Several PSBs are associated with ECC, however the SES as the strongest influencing factor mediates this association. Difficult socioeconomic conditions might predispose for both, ECC and mental illness. Targeted strategies are needed to facilitate the use of preventive measures and dental health services especially in families of lower status. For this purpose, psychosocial risk constellations must be identified. More integrative, multifactorial oriented research is necessary to gain a bio-psycho-social understanding of ECC.

Klíčová slova:

Caries – Dentition – Depression – Eating disorders – Child abuse – Mothers – Oral medicine – Socioeconomic aspects of health


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