SPREAD OF BACTERIA FROM MOTHER TO INFANT
Yes, it is true that sharing cups, utensils, and food can pass bad bacteria to your infant. This is perceived as harmless, but studies about the transmission of cavity causing bacteria, also known as Streptococcus mutants, have been published for the last 30 years. This bacteria can pass from person to person through the transfer of saliva, such as sharing utensils, blowing on food, and yes, even kissing that sweet little bundle of joy on the mouth.
Tooth decay is a bacterial infection that can be passed from one person to another during the prime time of infancy and the time of tooth eruption. As the teeth begin to erupt, the enamel is very soft. They are brand new virgin surfaces and very susceptible. A good comparison is, if you had a bad cold, and were kissing your child. That virus would then be passed to your child.
Only parents or caregivers with active tooth decay can spread streptococcus mutants bacteria through the transfer of saliva. There are other factors that play in to the cause of tooth decay, including the transfer of infectious saliva, genetics, oral hygiene, and feeding practices. Letting your baby constantly suck on a sippy cup full of juice, milk, other high sugar containing liquids allows bacteria to use the sugar to produce acid and break down tooth enamel causing decay.
Easier said than done. Just remember to avoid these things: utensil sharing, toothbrush sharing, blowing on baby’s food, pre-chewing baby’s food and cleaning off the pacifier with your own mouth.