What you just read above; I am sure must have startled you. At the same time you may wonder; Why is my child saying this, when I have given my child the ultimate Tender Love Care possible in this world?
Whatever your child said is true, this has been confirmed by scientist Desilva et al (2015). It states that there is mother to child transmission of streptococcus mutans. This is called vertical transmission.
Streptococcus mutans is one of the primary pathogens (disease producing bacteria) which causes dental decay. This condition in children below 6 years is called as Early Childhood Caries.
The next question which arises is that how does the bacteria transfers from mother to the child? It is a known fact that mother is the person who is in intimate contact with the child in the first two years of life. There are certain child nurturing habits which facilitates saliva transfer from the mother to the child. This can be due to sharing of food, sharing of utensils like Spoon, toothbrushes and other items. Also, it is seen that in certain cases mothers pre-chew the food to make it soft or blow the food when it is hot before giving the child. Although this is done with the intention of care, it results in transfer of bacteria through saliva from mother’s mouth to child’s mouth. This exchange may result in the child contracting the disease and form dental cavities.
Let’s now understand how to prevent and manage this condition. It is said that newborn children whose mothers have elevated level of the streptococcus mutans bacteria are at more risk of transferring the disease to the child. The prevention of this condition starts when the mother is expecting, at that time if she gets her tooth cavities treated from a dentist, it will reduce the amount the bacteria present in her mouth. Once the child is born and during infancy the mothers can avoid sharing of utensils, kissing the child and pre-chewing of food. Mother should also maintain good oral hygiene by brushing her teeth twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste. Preferably, having a fluoride level more than 1000ppm which can be confirmed by the contents mentioned on the cover of the toothpaste. Mothers should visit the
dentist regularly and have oral checkup in every six months.
By practicing these small measures, I am sure we will get away with the guilt of our kids having dental cavities. We can spread more LOVE and no dental CAVITIES to our children.
Key Take Away
1. Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste
2. Visit your dentist regularly
3. Avoid sharing of utensils e.g. spoons etc. and pre-chewing of food
4. Get your dental cavities treated in time
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