Parents can transmit contagious cavities

Mothers and fathers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their babies when they share spoons, scientists say.

Sugar is usually blamed for cavities, but the real culprits may well be bacteria. They survive on food particles left in your mouth, and the acid they produce eats away at teeth.

The bacteria, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus, can travel easily from person to person.

Liliana Rozo, assistant professor at the University of Louisville’s School of Dentistry, says that tooth decay can have a detrimental effect on a child’s quality of life, performance in school and success in life.

The disease can cause pain, inability to chew food well, embarrassment about discoloured or damaged teeth, and distraction from play and learning.

And infants and children are especially vulnerable to bacteria. A 2007 study conducted at the University of Queensland’s School of Dentistry found that cavity-causing bacteria was found in the mouths of 30% of 3-month old babies and more than 80% of 24-month-olds with milk teeth.

According to Rozo, often parents do not make the connection between oral health and overall health, even though the two are related. The mouth is an open door for many microbial infections to enter the bloodstream, she said.

Poor oral health may be a risk factor for systemic disease. Poor oral health manifestations, such as bleeding or dry mouth can indicate the presence of a systemic disease or exacerbate the effects of an existing disease such as diabetes or heart disease.

So parents, too, should make their own oral health a priority in order to help their children stay healthy.

The best way to prevent bacteria from multiplying in the mouth is to avoid sticky sweets, rinse with mouthwash after eating, drink water throughout the day to flush away plaque and food remains, and floss.

Chewing sugar-free gum also promotes salvia, which is beneficial is removing bacteria. But by far the best way to prevent cavities is to brush your teeth twice a day, especially at night before going to bed.

Call us here at Dental Care Partnership on 0121 354 1922 to book a Children’s Dentist Appointment with one of our friendly team.