I am a mother of four, and there’s something about a baby that makes us want to eat them. Especially when they are chunky, we’ve all “wanted to take a bite” out of a thigh, pinched a cheek, squeeze the giggles out of them. They inspire us to inhale them! Or maybe that’s just me.
The point is, I get what Alicia was trying to say and that it was not done with intent to change the world. That was her maternal instinct.
While I personally do not practice premasticating my kid’s food, there are cultures that have been doing this for years. Even doctors in developed countries have jumped to her defense saying it’s a maternal instinct and that the germs that are transferred are minimal.
While the quantity may be minimal, the bacteria lode may not be and the type of bacteria could be quite detrimental to the child’s overall health.
Dentally speaking, cavities are caused by a bacterial infection on the teeth known as caries. Dental caries is the #1 childhood disease, four times more prevalent than asthma, which is #2 on the list. Babies are not born with these bacteria. They acquire it. This infection is primarily caused by:
• Transmission: this infection is contagious. The most common form is from primary caregiver to child or partner. This is called “vertical transmission.”
• Prolonged acidic oral environment: this can be associated with a sugary/acidic diet or frequent nursing/bottle feeding. These factors can promote an acidic bacterial infection.
• Lack of good hygiene: keeping the oral environment clean and at an alkaline pH is important even prior to the first tooth erupting.
We, at Dr. Mary Gharagozloo’s dental practice, perform “caries risk assessment” where we evaluate the reasons contributing to your tooth decay (sharing food being one of them). And we offer a variety of products, including CariFree, that offer treatments beyond drilling and filling.
Whether you are a parent that premasticates your babies food, or a person that was cavity free for a long time and now find yourself at the dentist all the time, or you simply have a diet of acidic foods, you should ask your dental provider if they offer “caries risk assessment.”
Prevention is easier than treatment.