Expectant mums are being told to think twice before kissing their new babies on the mouth, sucking on their dummies or even blowing on their hot food because they may be passing on cavity-causing bacteria.
The warning comes as children as young as three are being put under general anaesthetic to fix – and in a growing number of cases – remove rotting teeth.
Dental Health Service Victoria chief oral health adviser Dr Paula Bacchia tells the Herald Sun she has concerns that children are having operations in hospital “for an entirely preventable disease”.
“If the mother’s got active dental decay in their mouth they’re going to have higher levels of the bacteria Streptoccus mutans, and they pass that along to the child,” Dr Bacchia says.
“Eventually everyone gets a bacteria, it gets passed on.”
Streptoccus mutans lives in the mouth and is a major cause of tooth decay.
Under the plan, maternal health nurses and midwives in Victorian public hospitals will be trained to spot the early signs of dental problems in children and get at-risk expectant mums the treatment they need.
According to Dental Health Services Victoria, two thirds of expectant mums present at public dental clinics with untreated decay, and each year 4000 general anaesthetics are given to Victorian children for fillings, reconstructions and teeth removals.
Alarmingly most of those children are aged five or younger, with children as young as three needing fillings and a growing number of children under four needing up to 20 decayed teeth removed.
Parents will also be advised not to give children sugary drinks and to delay foods high in sugar as part of the Victorian Government’s dental health plan.
Babyology recently reported on the growing support for a tax on sugary drinks, with Melbourne paediatrician and mum-of-three Dr Anthea Rhodes revealing children as young as 18 months are having multiple teeth pulled due to decay from being given juice, soft drinks, flavoured milk and sports drinks.
(via Herald Sun)