Tooth decay is contagious. A recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research, titled: Mother’s Caries Increases Odds of Children’s Caries, demonstrated that fact. The UCSF study examined the oral health of rural Hispanic families and found when mothers had untreated tooth decay, it almost doubled the odds of tooth decay in their children. The mechanism is simple, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from person-to-person. For example, when a mother is feeding a young child and tastes their food and uses the same spoon to feed the child.
The important take away message is the fact that the dental health of your entire family is important. Too often, we see certain members of a family that seek dental care whereas others are too busy or scared to have treatment. This can be counterproductive to the dental health improvements in the family members seeking treatment.
At Chandler Dental Health, we advise parents to pay close attention to the oral hygiene of their children from the moment the first tooth erupts, usually at 6 months of age. If you would like more information on oral hygiene tips for your children, click here