No one’s ever more familiar with tooth decays than moms. Witnessing firsthand how kids go gaga over jars of chocolates in the candy store and throw a tantrum during brushing time leaves you with a pretty good prediction that your child is 100% going to develop cavities at some point. Here’s the thing, though: It’s not just your child’s sweet tooth or adamant refusal to clean their pearly whites that make them vulnerable to decays. Believe it or not, this could be on you. It could be because of your habits.
The Case of Contagious Cavities
If you recall from your science class, tooth decay happens when the bacteria in the mouth feed on the tiny food particles stuck in between teeth, on the surface, or along the gumline. This mixture of microorganisms and food residue produce acid, which turns into a sticky, yellow substance called plaque. This is what causes damage to the enamel, forming the holes on teeth. Now, you have to take special notice of the main culprit behind this entire process: the bacteria.
According to research, babies are born without these cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. They do, however, get these from their parents, most especially, their moms. No, not through genetics. But through direct passing. When you inadvertently transfer saliva with your child, say, when you eat from the same utensils as your baby or give them a quick, harmless kiss. If you have a history of cavities yourself, then you’re likely passing that bacteria to your kids. As they haven’t built up a strong immunity yet, they’re more susceptible to getting decays.
Importance of Proper Care
This isn’t to say your child is doomed to get cavities because of your sweet loving habits. This just points to the pressing importance of proper dental care. Teach them proper brushing techniques. Keep jars of chocolate away from their reach. More importantly, take your child to the dentist as soon as they turn one year old. If you go in a little later, the problems in your kid’s dental health may already be at a much worse state. They may also have consumed so much evil-dentist, scary-clinic cartoons that you can’t persuade them to go anymore. Go make an appointment with a kids’ dentist in Herriman. While you’re at it, lay bare your worries and ask away about what to do when kids get toothaches, when they’re going to have their permanent teeth, how frequent you should visit the clinic, etc.
Given the findings of the contagious-cavity research, it’s also important to be sensitive to your sharing habits. Have separate utensils when eating. Avoid tasting their food before letting them eat it. Teach them to blow food themselves when the meal is hot. As for the kissing, maybe you can just give them a peck on the cheek, not on the lips.
Apparently it’s not just your child’s obsession over sugary treats and failure to brush teeth that make them susceptible to cavities. It may be your “love habits,” too. The next time you feel like sharing a meal with them, think twice before sharing your spoon. And maybe, that would be a better expression of love — putting their health first.