While babies are born without the germs that cause tooth decay, they can get them from their parents. Research shows that, in effect, babies can “catch” caries (tooth decay) from their parents. More correctly, when mothers and fathers have high levels of the bacteria that cause cavities (Streptococcus mutans), the bacteria can be transferred to their toddlers through mouth-to-mouth kissing or sharing of utensils. Once these bacteria establish themselves in babies’ mouths, the incidence of cavities becomes more likely. If parents are concerned about the transmission of bacteria to their babies, they can ask for a dental caries test, which measures the concentration of these bacteria in the mouth. In the meantime, saliva transmission should be avoided.
Do you have questions about your children’s dental health? At West Brookfield Dental, our philosophy is not only to treat dental needs, but more importantly, to educate our patients to prevent future problems. To this end, our mission is to provide open and free communication and the highest standard of personalized care in an environment of health, mutual understanding, and respect. We have office hours by appointment at 9 West Main St., West Brookfield. Please call 508.867.2777.
P.S. The most critical period for decay formation is within the first few months of eruption of teeth, when the enamel is still soft and development is finishing.