Dentists are claiming mums with dental decay can pass on oral bacteria and put their child at greater risk.

In 2016 we originally shared that a statewide plan was targeting mums with the aim to slash the number of general anaesthetics given to infants for dental procedures, as babies are able to “catch” cavities.

The Herald Sun reported at the time, that sucking a baby’s dummy, kissing, sharing eating utensils or blowing on hot food are all ways women with dental decay can pass on oral bacteria, putting their child at greater risk of disease.

Public hospital midwives and maternal health nurses across the state are being trained by Dental Health Services Victoria to get more expectant mothers’ oral health fixed, and arm them with the health messages needed to protect their kids.

Each year 4000 general anaesthetics are given to kids each year in Victorian — mainly to children aged under five — for fillings, reconstructions and teeth removals.

“If the mother’s got active dental decay in their mouth they’re going to have higher levels of the bacteria Streptoccus mutans, and they pass that along to the child,” said DHSV chief oral health adviser Dr Paula Bacchia. “Eventually everyone gets a bacteria, it gets passed on.”

UPDATE March 2018

The latest study confirms that kissing babies can damage their teeth.

Researchers at the University of Oulo, led by Jorma Virtanen, published their findings in the journal BioMed Central Oral Health, shares Daily Mail.

They quizzed 313 mothers about their thoughts on their health knowledge and their behaviours, such as sharing a spoon with their child.

They were also asked about how often they brush their teeth, smoking habits, age and level of education. These can alter someone’s risk of cavities.

The scientists were concerned as the results showed 38 per cent of mothers kissed their child on the lips and 14 per cent shared a spoon with their child.

However, 11 per cent were under the belief that oral bacteria cannot be transmitted from mother to child.

They called for further awareness to be given to new parents to advise them on how to avoid sharing bad bacteria with their children.

An Australian dentist last month re-iterated the widespread warnings over the dangers of giving babies a kiss.

Dr Michael Chong, who practices on the Gold Coast, stressed parents should get a check-up for any cavities before they do so.

He said that if parents unknowingly have cavities themselves, they risk passing on their damaging oral bacteria to their children.

Dr Chong also suggested parents avoid blowing on their child’s food to cool it down. And he said tasting a meal to check the temperature should be avoided.

Surprising after a study last year informed us that Children whose mother’s sucked their dummies to clean them were a third less likely to develop asthma and eczema. Read that story HERE.

Another common risk to avoid

Another common risk factor is the herpes virus – Mum’s loving kiss nearly kills her tiny baby: One Mum was left heartbroken after kissing her tiny baby left him in hospital with a soaring temperature and breathing problems.

A US mum also warned of the dangers of letting other people touch your baby after her son was hospitalised with a case of herpes. Read her story here.

Cold sores are highly contagious and can be spread by saliva, skin and touching things that are contaminated with the virus.

Share your comments below.

Read more: Sounds gross, but mums should actually suck babies dummy clean

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  • I think we are all different with our levels of comfort with physical affection and each to their own.


  • I always kissed my children on their face or head – never on their lips. Each to their own, but that felt wrong to me


  • I don’t like to kiss on the lips and find some relatives still think it’s okay. I don’t want the kids to catch anything like cold sores etc. I wish people would understand that.


  • Very interesting. Good thing I have good teeth- I don’t believe in kissing on the lips, but I have from time to time shared food with my kids or blown on their food for them.


  • This is interesting, thanks for sharing.


  • i had just a random person at the party wanting to kiss my son on the lip, yuk, i was very angry because i never do it myself


  • Interesting but I think it’s going a little too far, your are not covering your baby with saliva when you kiss them are you!


  • There’s a few stories flying around at the moment about people (friends, relatives, parents) kissing babies on the mouth/lips. I may have kissed my son, but I certainly don’t recall others kissing him on the lips. I would consider that a little bit weird. The transfer of bacteria is an interesting one, and not something I’d heard of before. But it seems there are some serious cases around now.


  • I understand that cavities are caused by bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) and that these bacteria can be passed on (I went through a phase of not wanting to kiss hubby!). But got over it. It seems that there are over 300 bacteria in the adult mouth. It is when Strep mutans comes into contact with sugar that it releases waste that causes decay. I understand you can live with this bacteria and not get decay. Steps like eliminating sugar, mouth wash after eating – green tea is incredibly effective at killing the bad bacteria – and brushing with good old flouride toothpaste make sure the bacteria doesn’t do damage. I have a feeling that any and every child is going to get this ‘bad bacteria’ from somewhere one day… maybe sucking their thumb in the shops; maybe at home .. and that they are just going to have to learn GOOD hygiene to live with this one in their mouth…. so I’d prefer to teach good dental hygiene and make sure that sugar is eliminated before I try and reduce intimacy! And what about all the good bacteria that we need? Scientists say we need to be exposed to all sorts and mum’s/dad’s “germs” maybe aren’t so bad in the bigger picture… just cut the sugar and keep kissing.. so far so good with hubby!

    • I think the fluoride is going to be more toxic than kisses.


  • Important info to be aware of.


  • Well that’s why we don’t share our toothbrushes isn’t it? Yes, the bacteria can be passed but I would think it would require more than a kiss on the lips :/


  • I would never have thought about blowing on food to cool it.
    Are we damaging our own teeth further as well? In many cases children are shown how to blow on their own food to cool it.
    Perhaps a Dentist could write an article giving more advice on this topic.


  • I will never stop smooching my babies!


  • Wow. Darn it. I love giving my baby girl kisses. But I won’t now.


  • seriously, what ever!!!
    Why dont we just lock them in a white padded room and pass the food through the door. No interaction with anyone or anything!

    • Yes, seems like us mothers don’t have enough to worry about. Too much paranoia for me, people have been kissing babies for eternity. I think it is a drive for the dental profession.


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