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Kissing Your Baby Can Spread More Than Love

Aug 19, 2013

We know that you shouldn’t kiss and tell, but when it comes to your health, it’s all fair game.  Did you know that the sweetest act of a mother kissing her baby on the lips can cause the baby to have cavities?  It was news to us too, but it turns out studies of cavity causing bacteria transmissions have been around for over 30 years. 

Other innocent “Mom actions” such as blowing on hot food, cleaning a dropped pacifier in their own mouth, sharing a utensil or uber slobbery “raspberries” can transmit bacteria that could be harmful to the child’s oral health.  Now, this does not mean you need to shop Zulily® immediately for a plastic baby bubble.  It means Mommies (and Daddies!) need to take really good care of their oral health!

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It all starts during pregnancy.  Last week we shared how important routine dental appointments are a must, especially if you are in the second trimester.  Hormonal changes in your body put you at a higher risk of periodontal disease.  If you experience tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling, it is important to get to the dentist right away. 

It’s not a secret that pregnancy cravings include sweet sugary treats. Make sure that you are brushing and following proper dental hygiene after eating these treats to decrease the chance of tooth decay.  You want to make sure that you are careful of what you eat during pregnancy since the tooth decay bacteria can be passed to the baby even before birth.

Let’s travel forward about a year after that bundle of joy arrives.  Millions of kisses have been given, thousands of spoonfuls of hot cereal have been blown on.  Now what?  Is your child still prone to cavities from Mom and Dad?  Yes.  Even more so at this point. 

Pediatric dentist Dr. Jane Soxman says, “You can’t blame it all on kissing a child on the lips — that’s one of several different factors that would have to be working together. But the main thing to know is that tooth decay is a bacterial infection and you can spread it from one person to another during the window of infectivity, which is during infancy and especially during the time of tooth eruption. That’s when the teeth are most vulnerable. It’s as if you had a bad cold and were kissing your child, you would spread the cold virus.”

Only caregivers with active tooth decay can spread the bacteria to their children through the transfer of saliva.  But remember, that is not the only factor.  Oral hygiene, genetics, diet and feeding practices also contribute to a child’s dental health.  So if you are prone to cavities, don’t be surprised if your young child has cavities too.  Of course, taking precautions and preventive measures will help both you and your child have a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come!

Sources: WebMD, ABC News

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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