Educating Teen Mothers

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to describe the risk of transmitting caries-inducing bacteria from mother to child and to educate teen mothers about preventing such bacterial transfer. Dental caries are not often thought of as a contagious disease, but it can be. Many common parenting behaviors can contribute to the transfer of oral bacteria to the child. Teen mothers may be unaware of or uneducated about risky behaviors and caries prevention. Educating teen mothers about how to prevent bacterial transfer may reduce the incidence of childhood caries in the community. Significance of Study/ Research questions This paper will explore the topic of transmission of caries-inducing bacteria from mother to child. This study …show more content…

S. mutans causes decay by converting dietary carbohydrates into acid; this acid, then breaks down the enamel and dentin of the teeth (Anil 2017). According to a 2008 study in Pediatric Dentistry, a baby’s mother is their primary source of S. mutans. (Mapes 2010). Another study involving the oral S. mutans in the mouths of preschool children revealed that the main source of the bacteria was their mother's’ saliva (Anil 2017). This can be determined by analyzing the genetic composition of the bacteria (Javed 2012). Baby teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they erupt into the oral cavity (Mapes 2010). However, even before the baby has teeth, bacteria can still make use of other areas of the mouth to form colonies - for example, the grooves of the tongue (Javed 2012). When the baby’s teeth come in, they may be entering an environment perfect for causing decay. The more bacteria that are present in the mouth of the mother, the more will be transmitted to the child and thus the higher the child’s risk of decay. Children are most likely to acquire decay from their mothers if the mother has active decay herself. Although bacterial transfer can occur at any age, it seems to be most prevalent between the ages of 19 and 31 months, the “window of infectivity” in which the percentage of children infected with S. mutans increases

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