Have you ever heard your friends blame their cavities on something called “Soft Teeth”? The idea is that you can’t control the number of cavities you have because of your gene pool.
This is a MYTH. Research has proven that tooth decay is an infectious disease and it’s not your family history that will lead you to get cavities. You can “catch” the bacteria that cause cavities just as easily as you can catch a cold. In fact, cavities are nearly 100% preventable.
We all have bacteria that live in our mouths. Mothers who carry this bacteria – especially those who have many cavities – can spread it to their children through their saliva. This includes behaviors like sharing spoons, cleaning a pacifier with your mouth and allowing babies to put their fingers in your mouth.
You can cut down on the bacteria in your own mouth and your child’s by limiting sugary and starchy snacks. Bacteria live on sugar, including sweet liquids, like baby formula, milk and juice. When the bacteria break down these sugars, they produce acids that attack tooth enamel and cause decay.
But cavities don’t have to be a part of your family’s life. To help prevent cavities, take these important steps:
- Brush gently at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss.
- Visit a dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. Do the same for your children.
- Limit sugary and starchy snacks – crackers, chips, candy and soda.
- Don’t put your infants to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice, or other sweet liquids. This can cause severe tooth decay and can affect tiny teeth as soon as they appear.
You can break the cycle of tooth decay in your family. Learn more about how to help your child have a beautiful smile for a lifetime.