Mom’s Chewing Gum Can Help Prevent Baby’s Cavities?
Any mom who has ever learned, at their young child’s very first dental appointment, that there are cavities to tend to will tell you that her feelings of shock were quickly replaced by a wave of guilt. Was she not helping her child brush the right way? Not often enough? Was she supposed to be flossing in between those baby teeth?
Are Cavities Contagious?
Studies are now showing that the cavities may indeed be mom’s fault, but not for the reasons she thinks. Who knew it was possible for a baby to “catch” tooth decay from her mom? Evidence shows that it does happen, thanks to a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans that can be found in the mouth of anyone with active tooth decay. This bacteria is transferable through the exchange of saliva, which is all too common between a mother and young child.
Naturally, there are numerous everyday activities between a mother and child that would qualify: sharing utensils or drinking cups; blowing on a toddler’s food to cool it down; even those irresistible kisses on the lips. Or even the occasional (shudder) biting off pieces of food to feed them, or (bigger shudder) a parent cleaning off the child’s pacifier in their own mouth.
An Ounce of Prevention....Or In This Case, a Gram of Xylitol
Most of those practices are nearly unavoidable - certainly no mom can hold back from giving her little one kisses, and when a two-year-old is hungry and her food is too hot, well ...Streptococcus mutans is the last thing on a mom’s mind. Recognizing this, many dental professionals recommend focusing on preventative measures instead.
Chewing xylitol gum, a gum sweetened with a sugar alternative derived from birch trees, is shown to significantly reduce the colonization of Strep Mutans bacteria. It is recommended that mothers establish a habit of chewing xylitol gum during their third trimester, and maintain it as their babies begin to cut teeth. The xylitol can help keep this bacteria from transferring from mom to baby and from attacking the soft, new enamel of a young child’s vulnerable teeth.
Three to four pieces of Dr. John's® Simply Xylitol® gum, chewed throughout the day, will maximize the oral health benefits of xylitol useage. Preventative measures such as this, paired with regular cleanings and flossing - for the mom - can mean a much happier visit to the dentist for the toddler (and the mom) the next time around.