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Soft Teeth

If you think that "soft teeth" are the reason that cavities tend to run in families, you'll be surprised to know the real reason: an infection. The infection is usually transmitted from mothers to babies during the first year of life.

"Women of childbearing age who have cavities or have had a lot of fillings are at the greatest risk to infect their newborns with cavity producing bacteria," says Dr. Peter Domoto, chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington School of Dentistry. "These bacteria live on sugar that is part of the baby's diet and deposit acid against the child's tooth surfaces."

Acid chart of drinks

Tooth decay doesn't have to be a part of your child's life. Following proper steps to improve your oral health, cleaning your baby's teeth, and making a thoughtful approach to infant and toddler feeding can reduce your child's risk for tooth decay.

"Children shouldn't have to suffer with painful teeth," says Dr. Domoto. "Baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries [cavities], as it is now known, is a serious public health problem that is totally preventable."

Children as young as nine or 10 months of age can be infected with cavity-producing bacteria. If left untreated, these tooth infections can lead to pain and expensive dental treatment.

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