Parents often think that the reason kids get cavities is because they don’t brush or floss. This is true to a point. What very few parents know, though, and what a knowledgeable dentist in Greenville, SC will tell you, is that the cause of tooth decay, more often than not, are the parents themselves.

Before we get to this shocking revelation, first, a review of how tooth decay starts. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria called mutans streptococcus. These particular bacteria feed on sugar, and in the process, produce acid that eats away at the enamel, the hard mineralized surface of the teeth. Aside from acid, the bacteria also create plaque, a thin film that covers the teeth and depletes calcium. Once calcium is taken away, the tooth surface collapses, and cavity begins.

The Truth About Tooth Decay

Babies don’t have these harmful bacteria when they are born, and research shows that it’s the parents who often pass the bacteria onto their children. Bacteria transference usually occurs when you repeatedly eat from the same spoon as your baby. When you do this, saliva from your mouth is transferred to your baby, and if you have these harmful bacteria yourself, you’re likely to pass them along.

Tooth Decay Statistics in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay affects over 25 percent of U.S. children aged 2 to 5 years, about 50 percent of those aged 12 to 15 years, and over 60 percent of those 12 to 19 years. As you can see, tooth decay is a prevalent problem among America’s youngsters. Fortunately, you can do something about it: by being in-the-know.

Preventing Tooth Decay

It’s a misconception to say that teeth prone to cavities run in families.  What is, in fact, passed along are decay-causing bacteria.  If you have dental problems yourself, you need to be vigilant about your child’s dental health. Limit the sharing of utensils and other methods of unnecessary saliva transfers.

That being said, reducing the bacterial loads in your saliva is the best way to prevent transmission of cavity-causing bacteria to your child. Schedule a visit with one of the most trusted dentists in Greenville, SC, such as those from Falls Park Dentistry, to learn the best oral health care tips for you and your child to follow.


Mom’s kiss can spread cavities to baby, NBC News

The Fight Against Cavities: How to Care for Babies’ Teeth,