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Contagious Cavities

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One of the favorite themes of the candy alarmists is dental decay: candy causes cavities! How many times have you heard that one? But it just ain’t so.

From no less an authority than the New York Times, this week’s Science section:

While candy and sugar get all the blame, cavities are caused primarily by bacteria that cling to teeth and feast on particles of food from your last meal.

Your last meal. Did you hear that? Not candy, not at all. It’s food, just plain old food, that those cavity-causing bacteria crave.

And there’s more. Those bacteria? Turns out not everybody has them in their mouths. So some people eat only approved virtuous vittles and end up with teeth like swiss cheese, and others suck lollies all day long and pose as tooth models on the weekend. No, life is not fair.

It gets worse. Those cavity bacteria are contagious. Kiss the wrong frog, and you may soon be enjoying the dulcet tones of the dental drill.

Moms, of course, get the short end of the stick either way. When kids cavities are believed to be evidence of a candy habit, mom gets the blame for allowing her darlings to taste of the forbidden not-fruit. And when we realize it’s all because of bad bacteria?

Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to [the bacteria], and studies have shown that most pick it up from their caregivers–for example, when a mother tastes a child’s food to make sure it’s not too hot…

Bad mother!

 


Filed under: Children and Candy, Health, Myth Busting Tagged: bad mothers, cavities, dentists

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