In celebration of National Dental Hygiene Month in October, United Concordia Dental, one of the nation's largest dental insurers, wants parents to know that sharing utensils and kisses on the mouth with their babies can spread cavities.
"Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from the mother or father to the infant through the transfer of saliva," said Jerome Blum, D.D.S., corporate dental director. "Seemingly harmless activities, such as a kiss on the mouth, blowing on food or sharing a spoon, can help cause cavities."
A 2008 study published by Pediatric Dentistry reveals "strong evidence" that mothers are a primary source in the spreading of the bacteria - mutans streptococci (MS) - that is responsible for promoting cavities in their infants.
The study also revealed that fathers are other "potential" sources for the bacteria's transmission.
So how can you protect your child
"Schedule your baby's first dental exam after the arrival of his or her first tooth," said Dr. Blum. "And, wipe the baby's mouth, teeth, tongue and gums, regularly with a clean wet cloth. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria present that can cause cavities."
For information on oral health care and dental hygiene, visit at www.UnitedConcordia.com