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Is it appropriate for parents to kiss their children on the lips?

Most dental diseases experienced by children are caused by bacteria spread through kissing kids in the mouth.

The dentists have advised that parents refrain from kissing their children on the lips, particularly before their baby teeth have developed, as they could spread harmful bacteria to their young ones.

Before the first tooth appears, a baby’s mouth is usually free from cavity-causing bacteria. Three things are needed to cause cavities: harmful bacteria, susceptible surface (tooth), and sugar source. When a new tooth erupts, bacteria can be transferred through an infected droplet of saliva.

While many argue that there’s nothing wrong with parents showing their affection in this manner, there are certain health risks that parents need to become more aware of.

Baby teeth are particularly susceptible to infection, as they don’t have the strength to withstand the damaging effect of bacteria.
The type of bacteria that is a common cause of tooth decay and found in the human oral cavity is called Streptococcus mutans. It can only be transmitted through the saliva of individuals infected with these bacteria. A good indicator of aggressive bacteria is active or past tooth decay.

Kissing is just one of the hard habits to break. Aside from kissing babies in the mouth, most parents and caregivers blow on children’s food or share utensils and food with the tots. Some parents are guilty of sharing toothbrushes with their kids, cleaning pacifiers with their mouths, and chewing their kids’ food first to make it easier to bite. These activities are even more harmful than kissing if the adults are infected with Streptococcus mutans.

While it is complicated for many of us to get rid of these practices, it is critical to the little ones’ health that we do so.

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