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Can You Catch Cavities?

By Jill Feilmeier on May 1, 2014 in Kid's Health

Room of dental chairs, patients and dentists

Nothing's better than sharing with your child. You share hugs, kisses, and in some cases, you might even share cavities! Are you surprised? Much like a cold, the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth can be passed to your children.

The root of the problem is participating in saliva transferring behaviors. Typically, this takes place through natural, parental behaviors, such as sharing utensils, blowing on food to cool it or even kissing your little one.

Babies are born without any harmful bacteria in their mouth. But once bacteria are shared, your child will be more prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth. If you have a history of poor oral health with frequent cavities, you're particularly likely to pass the germs along.

So what's a parent to do?

Make sure to keep your own mouth healthy. It's never too late to start practicing healthy dental habits. Maintain a good diet, brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day and visit the dentist regularly.

Try to cut back on saliva-transferring behaviors, such as sharing utensils and toothbrushes, blowing on your baby's food, pre-chewing your baby's food and cleaning off your baby's pacifier with your own mouth.

In addition, moms and those expecting should chew Xylitol gum. A recent study found that children of moms who chewed Xylitol gum (starting in the sixth month of pregnancy) were significantly less likely to show bacteria colonization.

Bottom line? Take care of your mouth and pass along good dental health habits to your children – not the germs that cause cavities.