Children’s dental decay in LA: "Is tooth decay contagious from parents to kids?"

Q: A friend said that my baby could somehow “catch” tooth decay from me. Is this true?

A: Yes, research suggests that the bacteria that causes tooth decay can actually be passed from one person to another – that means that kids can “catch” tooth decay from their parents, friends and other people.

Children under age two are especially at risk for transmission of Streptococcus mutans, the chief cavity-causing bacteria.

Dr. Paul Reggiardo, a public policy advocate for the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry, told the LA Times, “The child initially has the mother’s immunity, and then as that wears off, there’s this window of infectivity where the child does not have that resistance until they start building their own, and they’re particularly susceptible then.”

In order to protect the teeth of children, it’s important to take kids to the dentist before cavities start.

Dr. Indru Punwani, professor and head of the department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, tells the Times, “Five years is too late, that we need to begin at age 1 if we truly want to prevent the disease from starting.”

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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