Mother’s Oral Health Linked to Child’s Oral Health
Good dental health habits start early. Mothers are advised to wipe their babies’ gums after feedings using soft cloths or soft-bristled brushes even before teeth come in, and to teach their toddlers to brush their teeth using pea-sized smears of toothpaste. These are great ways to teach your child healthy dental habits, but a recent study shows that you might be making some dental mistakes without even realizing it, which could cause your child to suffer oral health issues in the long term.
A 2010 study from UCSF revealed that children whose mothers had tooth decay were at twice the risk of cavities than children whose mothers did not have tooth decay. Researchers found several causes for this link. Some of them were predictable: mothers with poor dental hygiene were simply less likely to teach good dental hygiene habits. However, some were more surprising, such as sharing eating utensils or cups, which could also result in sharing oral bacteria.
If you are a parent with a history of tooth decay, you can take steps to reduce your child’s risk. Do not share eating utensils or drinks with your child. Encourage good dental hygiene habits, including brushing after meals and flossing daily. Eat a balanced diet, and teach your child to do the same. Give your child milk and water to drink, and limit his or her intake of juice, sugar-sweetened drinks and between-meals snacks, which could contribute to plaque formation and tooth decay. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings for your whole family, and make healthy smiles a way of life. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your child’s next pediatric dentistry checkup with Dr. Frame.
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