Parents who kiss children on lips before baby teeth develop may spread harmful bacteria, dentist argues

Baby teeth are especially vulnerable to infection

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Wednesday 28 February 2018 10:44
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A dentist has advised that parents should refrain from kissing their children on the lips, particularly before their baby teeth have developed, as they could spread harmful bacteria to their young ones.

The debate over whether it’s appropriate for parents to kiss their children on the lips is a constant source of conversation.

While many argue that there’s nothing wrong with parents showing their affection in this manner, there are supposedly certain health risks that parents need to become more aware of.

Baby teeth are particularly susceptible to infection, as they don’t have the strength to withstand the damaging effect of bacteria.

“Baby teeth have a different type of enamel and dentine to adult teeth,” Dr Richard Marques, celebrity dentist at Wimpole Street Dental in London, explained to The Independent.

“The enamel is much thinner on baby teeth. It is not as strong as adult enamel so is more likely to decay.”

The transfer of saliva between individuals can always increase the likelihood of spreading illness.

However, parents need to be especially wary with their young children.

“Saliva transfer from parent to child is a risk as this can spread bacteria (such as streptococcus mutans) from adult to child,” said Dr Marques.

“This bacteria can cause decay of baby teeth.

“It can even affect the soft tissues and gums before the baby teeth have developed!”

There are a variety of afflictions that can be spread from mouth-mouth contact, including the cold or flu and viruses such as cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1).

Dr Marques suggests that parents refrain from sharing cutlery with their children, blowing on their food or kissing them on the lips.

There are a number of things parents can do to ensure the optimal dental health of their children.

These include not keeping all of your toothbrushes in one container, making sure your child doesn’t swallow the toothpaste, reducing their sugar intake and taking them for regular dentists checks.

“Take your child to the dentist regularly (they can go to the dentist as early as six months when the first tooth comes through),” Dr Marques advised.

“By age two to three they should be attending the dentist every six months to check for cavities (and check how well their teeth are developing!).

“Prevention is the key. We would rather help children to not get cavities in the first place!"

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