Hypothesis: Proinflammatory cytokines are increased in saliva of mother/children pairs with caries. Design: Case-control study involving caries-free children (n = 20) and children with early childhood caries (ECC) (n = 20), and their mothers (n = 40). The maternal variables analyzed were waist circumference (WC), decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) and sugar intake; and in the children were body mass index (BMI), def-t and sugar intake. Salivary levels of VEGF, IL-6 and TNF-α were analyzed of mother/children pairs. Results: In the mothers, salivary VEGF levels were correlated with DMFT (r = 0.35; p = .03), WC (r = 0.35; p = .02), and sugar intake (r = 0.32; p = .04). Higher salivary IL-6 levels were also correlated with maternal DMFT (r = 0.45; p = .004) and WC (r = 0.32; p = .04). In the children, higher salivary VEGF levels were correlated with higher def-t scores (r = 0.42; p = .008). Children with caries had a 63% higher median salivary VEGF and twofold higher mean IL-6 levels compared to caries-free children. Mothers of children with ECC showed higher mean of salivary IL-6 levels compared to those of children without ECC (p = .03). Conclusion: Salivary proinflammatory cytokines are correlated with the severity of caries in the mother-children pair. Obesity and excessive sugar consumption seem to underlie the associations between proinflammatory cytokines and caries in the family environment.