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Are Cavities Contagious from Mom to Baby?

08 Dec , 2020

As a parent, a lot is passed onto your children. From your looks to behavior and even love for food! But did you know that the bacteria in your mouth too can be passed onto to your children?

Yes, you may have heard it a million times – do not share food, clothes, utensils, etc. You’ve even heard not to blow on your child’s food to cool it down or even taste it. Somehow you find this quite bizarre. After all, it’s your child!  But the unvarnished truth is that just like a cold, the bacteria present in your mouth are contagious too! When your saliva is transferred into your child’s mouth, the displacement takes place. Of course, this transfer occurs through maternal behaviors which are but natural like blowing on food to cool it down, sharing utensils and even kissing.

Everyone knows that you can catch a cold, cough or the flu. But did you know you can catch a cavity too? According to research, not only is this phenomenon possible but something that occurs highly frequently as well!

The real culprits

While sugary foods and treats take the blame for inducing cavities; the real culprits behind tooth decay are bacteria. Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus mutans are the bacteria’s which get stuck to our teeth to feast on food particles left behind after our last meal. They produce acids which can threaten the health of gums and cause decay.

Tip: Read this article to know the ‘8 Reasons Why Tooth Decay Happens’      

Babies are born without the bacteria that lead to cavities. It is transferred to them from their caregiver’s mouth, by sharing saliva. Even before babies develop teeth, these germs can begin taking action and hence, it’s important to avoid sharing saliva with your children right from the start. Yes, catching a cavity is something which is possible and happens far more frequently than we think.

What should a parent do?

In light of this, it not expected for parents to stop kissing their little bundles of joy or share their favourite ice creams. There are few positive ways that can help prevent the bacteria from spreading:

  • Parents should keep a check on their personal oral hygiene. This includes regular flossing, brushing and check-ups.
  • Do not entirely stop but cut back on certain methods which spread bacteria. Like blowing on your baby’s food to cool it down or sharing utensils, etc.
  • Wipe your baby’s mouth with a clean, wet cloth which helps prevent bacteria.
  • Take your child to visit the dentist after they cross the 6-month mark.
  • Chew on xylitol gum as this has shown to cut down on bacteria colonisation.

The single most chronic childhood disease is dental cavities. While the reasons for the cause of decay are multi-factorial, nearly all parents blame snacking, candy, sugary drinks, sodas or juice. Yes, all the above-mentioned are causes but do not neglect bacteria which are also primary sources of cavities.

Keeping this in mind, we at DentoXpert say that it’s imperative to pay close attention to oral hygiene which will not only benefit you but your child as well.

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