Cavities: Spreading from Parent to Child

Nov 13, 2015

We all know that bacteria can spread in a variety of different ways, but what parents may not know is that they can be unconsciously spreading bacteria to their children, which can lead to cavities.

A bacteria called Streptococcus Mutans, also abbreviated as S. Mutans, can be passed on from one person to the next through the transfer of saliva. This bacteria has been known to spread by blowing on a baby’s food, sharing utensils, and even kissing your child on the lips. However, solely kissing your child on the lips won’t cause the bacteria to spread – different factors work together to cause infection.

Tooth decay, specifically, is the main perpetrator of these infections, and can spread from one person to another during infancy and especially when a child experiences tooth eruption.

Tooth decay can result from things such as transferring saliva, through genetics, poor oral hygiene, and feeding habits–such as letting a baby drink a sippy-cup full of sugar-filled liquids. Baby teeth are extremely vulnerable to decay, and these sugars can cause major damage.

Another way in which you can prevent spreading Streptococcus Mutans to your child is by regularly chewing Xylitol gum. Studies show that moms who chewed gum with Xylitol as a main ingredient were significantly less likely to show colonization of this bacteria.

For any questions you might have about bacteria or how you can prevent your child from getting cavities, contact us at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo and Everett and stop in for an appointment.