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Did You Know That Bacteria Causes Dental Disease?

We all enjoy a beautiful smile, but there is only so much credit we can give to nature-it is up to parents and children to maintain healthy teeth. Poor dental habits can lead to cavities, also called tooth decay, or gum disease that develops from bacteria which build up in our mouths. Dental disease is from not brushing or flossing your teeth properly and regularly. Left unchecked, these bacteria can cause bad breath and more serious problems like cavities and tooth loss. Did you know the condition of your mouth impacts the health of your whole body?

Cavities and gum disease can lead to serious medical problems like some types of heart disease. Poor oral health has been linked to low birth-weight babies and oral cancer, and makes some diseases such as diabetes difficult to control. Teeth that are not properly cared for cause pain and discomfort, making eating more difficult. Tooth or gum pain makes paying attention and participating in school or work difficult. It also can lead to longer term dental problems.

The good news is that cavities and gum disease can be prevented! Tooth decay is caused by bacteria which live on sugar and starchy foods such as cookies, candy, soda, and sugar drinks. These bacteria can be spread from one person to another. Gum disease happens because of poor oral care which leads to the buildup of bacteria on the teeth called plaque. A buildup of plaque on the teeth can lead to either cavities or gum disease. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis and the more severe form of gum disease is called periodontal disease. Gum disease causes the gums around the teeth to become red and swollen and even bleed when the teeth are flossed or brushed.

The bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease are often passed on to the children by their care givers. One way this happens is when a care giver tastes the baby's food and then feeds the baby from the same spoon. It is very important not to share utensils with children. Never clean a pacifier or bottle nipple by placing it in your mouth.

Good oral hygiene practices are important to you-and your children's health, both ensuring strong, healthy teeth and for better health throughout a person's lifetime. It is critical that parents teach their children how to care for their teeth, and take an active role in that care.

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