Here’s an understatement: parenting is not easy.

From the moment the kids wake up to the moment they’re tucked in at night, you’re on the move, preparing meals, picking up the house and getting everyone where they need to go. It can feel next to impossible to find time to take care of yourself.

But according to a new study, a mother’s stress can have negative effects for the entire family, even affecting a child’s dental health.


Researchers from King’s College London and the University of Washington found that cavities were more common in children whose mothers suffered from chronic stress.

How common? 44.2 percent of children with chronically stressed mothers had cavities. Only 27.9 percent of childrenwith unstressed mothers had cavities as well, a 16.3 percent difference.

Stressed mothers were relatively simple for researchers to find – they literally wear their stress on their bodies. Researchers deemed a mother chronically stressed if she showed two or more biological signs of constant high stress.


Rather, stressed out mothers had a more difficult time keeping regular dental appointments for their children and were less likely to breastfeed or provide breakfast for their children. These factors, along with a lower socioeconomic status, also played into a higher rate of cavities.

The message is clear, however: taking care of yourself is directly related to how well you can care for your children. So cut yourself a break every once in a while, relax and reward yourself: your kids will thank you later.