Contrary to many parents’ belief that their children get cavities because they were born with “weak teeth”, many children’s teeth are structurally sound. There seems to be a genetic link to dental decay because children with tooth decay often have an immediate family member who may suffer from tooth decay as well. The fact of the matter is, many people may not recognize that cavities can be spread to children from their parents, similar to a cold or the flu.
Small babies and children are not born with cavity causing-bacteria in their mouths. They can actually “catch” bacteria from their primary caregivers. According to recent research studies using advanced DNA technology, researchers can identify similar genetic characteristics of cavity-causing bacteria between immediate family members/primary caregivers and their children. This finding shows that parents or primary caregivers (grandma, grandpa or nanny) could be an important source of dental infection for children at an early age.
One of the main routes of transmission is sharing utensils with your child or tasting baby food before giving it to your child. Cavity causing bacteria in the caregivers’ mouths may be passed on to the children through saliva contact.
The following facts that can help protect children against tooth decay: