Passing on Tooth Decay to a Child?

Q. Is it possible for a mother to pass bacteria to her infant that can cause cavities? If so, what can be done to avoid it?

A. Studies show that a mother with high bacteria counts specific to cavities, especially Streptococcus mutans, will have a child with high bacteria counts. Furthermore, high bacteria counts of Streptococcus mutans are associated with very active decay rates. Studies show that if a mother takes precautions before the birth of a child and lowers the bacteria presence, her child will have a lower bacteria presence, as well, presumably leading to a lower incidence of dental decay. If a mother wants to lower her own bacteria counts, she should have any outstanding cavities filled, get professional dental cleanings on a regular basis, and maintain a great dental care routine at home. While these things are simple, they make a big difference in the amount of bacteria – especially harmful bacteria – in the mouth.

Mark Mcomie, D.M.D.

Mcomie Family Dentistry

5999 Shallowford Road

Chattanooga, TN 37421

(423) 899-1112