- Mom kissing baby
Babies are born without cavity-causing bacteria, but did you know that by age 26 months, children have the same oral bacteria as moms?
Strep Mutans(cavity-causing bacteria) are transferred from mom to baby through saliva by kissing and sharing spoons, cups and food. Let us not forget the occasional popping the pacifier in the mouth to “clean” it before giving it to baby.
What can you do? Chew gum sweetened with xylitol, such as Trident, for 20 minutes three to four times a day. Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in plants that greatly reduces cavity-causing bacteria. For babies, wipe their gums and teeth with Spiffie wipes available at www.Spiffies.com .
Children of mothers who chew xylitol-sweetened gum require 70% fewer fillings by age 10. Since xylitol reduces cavity-causing bacteria, cavity prevention starts when the mother is pregnant.
In addition, mothers can transfer viruses such as Herpes Simplex Type I (cold sores) to their babies through saliva. These sores appear on or around the lips, on the roof of the mouth (hard palate), and near the gum line. These sores are similar in appearance to canker sores but are located on gum tissue attached to bone, with exception of the lips, and can be painful.
Some infections in the mouth go undetected by those afflicted if no discomfort is involved. Early gum disease is not always painful; however, the bacteria involved can still transfer to baby by kissing on the lips.
An important note: Children receive little oral care if their parents don’t go to the dentist regularly. Irregular visits as children continue into adulthood, and the cycle begins again. Children follow by example; see your dentist and dental hygienist regularly. Call Rhonda to make an appointment with Dr. Parkin and Susan for an exam, x-rays, and cleaning.
Susan Divine, RDH
Cheyenne Mountain Dental Center