- Published on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 01:01
- Written by Super User
Parents should take special precautions when using pacifiers with their infants. According to Greensboro, N.C., pediatric dentist Dr. Scott Cashion, bacteria that can cause dental decay may be transmitted from adult to child by the parent sucking on a baby’s pacifier to clean it.
Dr. Cashion points to a study recently published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reporting that the immunological benefits of adult saliva is limited. “Many parents don’t realize that adult saliva contains a variety of microorganisms which may be harmful to health,” he says.
“Licking a pacifier can transfer bacteria, especially some forms of streptococcus, that may increase the infant’s chance of developing tooth decay as they grow.”
Another precaution is to avoid dipping the pacifier in honey, juice, sugar or sweetened drinks, says Dr. Cashion. “The high sugar content in these substances can contribute to what we call ‘baby bottle tooth decay’ or cavities in the child’s front teeth.”
“A child’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt,” said Dr. Cashion. “Fortunately, there are steps that parents can take to help children develop a healthy immune system. Breast milk is widely acknowledged as a good immunity-¬builder as well as the most complete form of nutrition for infants.”
The North Carolina Dental Society (NCDS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that parents protect the dental health of young children by promoting a healthy diet, monitoring their intake of food and drink, brushing their teeth or wiping gums after mealtimes and by having infants finish their bedtime or naptime bottle before going to bed.
“Children should also receive their first dental visit within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.”
Additional information on children’s oral health can be found at www.ncdental.org or www.ada.org.
The N.C. Dental Society represents 3,600 dentists throughout North Carolina. The NCDS encourages improvement of the oral health of the public, promotes the art and science of dentistry, sustains high standards of professional competence and practice, and represents the interests of the members of the dental profession and the public which it serves.