The type of decay found in nursing (caries) occurs between and on the smooth surfaces of teeth. This decay pattern is believed to be infectious. Certain strains of high acid producing bacteria are passed from a caregiver to the infant when teeth first erupt into the mouth. Interestingly, the child must have teeth in order to support the organisms and the transfer occurs through saliva-to-saliva contact. Therefore, if the mother has a history of extensive dental decay between and on the smooth surfaces of her teeth, she should not share spoons, pacifiers with her mouth, or allow her saliva to contact her infantīs mouth.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|