Brush Up on Your Dental Habits
Tooth decay is an infectious disease, the most common one among children, which means it's passed from person to person. A newborn's mouth is essentially sterile until someone else -- the primary caregiver, usually Mom -- introduces bacteria. Typical scenario: "The binky drops, so Mommy cleans it in her mouth," says David Krol, MD, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) dentistry and oral health section.
Brush and floss regularly to purge your own mouth of bacteria, and don't share utensils. "I treated a family for bad breath -- it turned out they shared cups and spoons," says Martha Ann Keels, DDS, chair of the AAP's dentistry and oral health section.