Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

WHAT'S IN A KISS Wednesday, 04 February 2015

Did you know that decay causing bacteria can be transferred through saliva from one individual to another. Romantically speaking, a kiss does increase saliva flow which helps to limit the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay which is good…but to the contrary, the repeated exposure and transfer of saliva to the same partner may also involve the transfer of pathogens which cause decay, malodor, gingivitis or cold sores.

If your partner has gingivitis or a lot of cavities it may increase your chances of experiencing them too. Be cautious when sharing saliva and food too. Practice prevention by brushing and flossing regularly to keep your mouth healthy and resistant.

The same applies to mothers who place those precious kisses on their newborn babies. Moms, Dads and caregivers also can transfer decay producing bacteria to children through kissing, food tasting, and pacifier cleaning.

Don’t stop kissing your babies, but instead try these 2 recommendations to limit the chances of passing these decay causing bacteria:

1.) Aim for the babies forehead and cheeks when you kiss
2.) Chew gum with a high concentration of Xylitol (under the name Spry for example)

A recent study found that mothers who chew gum with Xylitol (a sugar alternative) will decrease the risk for decay for their child and themselves. For adults, Xylitol can halt and even reverse dental decay activity. It reduces the cavity causing germs and their ability to attach to the teeth, therefore this lessens the potential of them being passed onto your child through your saliva. The recommendation is 3 chiclets 5 times per day for the mother or caregiver (ideally shortly after a child’s birth) to decrease the child’s risk for dental caries by the time the child’s teeth erupt. Xylitol in adults as well as children has been shown not only to strengthen enamel and reduce plague and caries activity but it also increases energy, bone density, helps with weight loss and decreases the chances of ear infections in children. You can find Xylitol in select health food stores or in our office.

So remember when we pass on a kiss we’re passing on much more. Improving on your dental health will be a benefit to you and those that you love.

-Dr. Claudia Minadeo-Fox, Health Inspired Dentistry