Recommendations for Parental Oral Health

Oral health education

All primary dentist who treat parents and infants should provide education on the etiology and prevention of ECC. Educate the parent on avoiding saliva- sharing behaviors (eg, sharing spoons and other utensils, sharing cups, cleaning a dropped pacifier or toy with their mouth) can help prevent early colonization of MS in infants.

Comprehensive oral examination

Referral for a comprehensive oral examination and treatment during pregnancy is especially important for the mother.

Professional oral health care

Routine professional dental care for the parent can help optimize oral health. Removal of active caries, with subsequent restoration of remaining tooth structure, in the parents suppresses the MS reservoir and minimizes the transfer of MS to the infant, thereby decreasing the infant’s risk of developing ECC.

Oral hygiene

Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing by the parent are important to help dislodge food and reduce bacterial plaque levels.


Dietary education for the parents includes the cariogenicity of certain foods and beverages, role of frequency of consumption of these substances, and the emineralization/remineralization process.


Using a fluoridated toothpaste and rinsing with an alcohol- free, over-the- counter mouth rinse containing 0.05% sodium fluoride once a day or 0.02% sodium fluoride rinse twice a day have been suggested to help reduce plaque levels and promote enamel remineralization.

Xylitol chewing gum

Evidence suggests that the use of xylitol chewing gum (at least 2-3 times a day by the mother) has a significant impact on mother-child transmission of MS and decreasing the child’s caries rate.