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Researchers say cavities can be contagious
Updated: 4/10/2011 7:00:02 PM

Dentists warn that mothers may unintentionally spread cavity-causing bacteria to their babies Researchers say cavities can be contagious

Many parents are surprised to learn that tooth decay is the leading chronic disease among American children and that kids can develop cavities through means other than poor oral hygiene. A recent article published by Boston-based WCBV News highlights the ways through which children can be exposed to cavity-causing bacteria.

"The primary caregivers, often the mothers, taste the baby's food or kiss the baby, and the babies acquire the same strain of bacteria as their primary caregiver," dentist Ann Hertzberg told the Fox affiliate. "[They] can also acquire the bacteria from siblings or other children in day care," she added.

One local mother, Danielle Berejik, told the news provider that her first child had eight cavities by the time he was 4 years old, which was likely the result of being exposed to maternal saliva.

The news source noted that several studies have shown that adults may also transmit mouth bacteria to one another and subsequently develop tooth decay.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a total of 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 suffer from tooth decay.

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