Tue, Mar 25, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Parents can pass on tooth decay to offspring
爸媽蛀牙 會傳染給幼兒

A dentist, left, checks a girl’s teeth in Taoyuan County on March 14 last year.

photo: Pan Hsing-hui, Liberty Times

Research shows that if parents have tooth decay the chances are higher that their young ones will also have cavities. The dental plaque DNA of parents and children are nearly identical. Apart from physique and hereditary factors, if parents chew food before feeding it to their child, use the same eating utensils or kiss their child on the lips, it can also increase the risk of exposing a child to saliva that contains dental plaque streptococci. For the sake of your child’s dental health, parents are reminded to be wary about their own dental hygiene.

Taiwan Academy of Pediatric Dentistry president Tsai Yi-feng says that nearly 80 percent of Taiwanese children six years of age or younger have dental caries, which is significantly higher than Europe or America — 40 percent — and neighboring Asian countries — 57 percent. Tsai says that it is worth bearing in mind that more than 80 percent of Taiwanese adults also have tooth decay, which shows that tooth decay rates for children and adults are intimately related.

According to a study from Finland, a child’s chances of having tooth decay are greater if both parents also have cavities, and inversely lower if they do not. The main reason for this is that mutant dental plaque from parents’ dental caries contaminates their offspring’s teeth, damaging the child’s teeth and eventually causing cavities.

Tsai says that in order to take care of a child’s teeth, parents can start with two points of approach — be sure to take care of all tooth decay issues during pregnancy, and after the child is born make sure the child gets in the habit of cleaning their teeth. It is best to brush after all three meals, before going to bed, and also use dental floss. After a baby’s teeth come in, you should be sure to clean the child’s teeth before going to bed, Tsai says, adding if a child’s teeth come in close together you should definitely use dental floss.


1. hereditary adj.

遺傳的 (yi2 chuan2 de5)

例: While obesity and some cancers are hereditary, they are also related to lifestyle and environmental factors.


2. utensil n.

器皿;用具 (qi4 min3; yong4 ju4)

例: This multifunctional utensil can be used for cooking and cleaning.


3. bear in mind v. phr.

記住 (ji4 zhu4)

例: Please bear in mind that we are not here today on your behalf.


It is worth mentioning that different age groups should brush their teeth differently. Taiwan Dental Association chairman Huang Mao-shuan says that children between the ages of zero and six can brush back and forth horizontally and use dental floss as a supplement, while children between six and nine years of age should brush one tooth at a time, gradually learning how to use the Bass brushing technique. Parents can also help children by assisting them brush permanent teeth such as molars and incisors. From the age of nine into adulthood, Huang says that people should pay attention to dental hygeine.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)







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