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One more thing to feel guilty about whether you are a parent or not. Infants are not born with the bacteria (strep mutans, among others) that cause cavities. We are actually the source inoculating them with the bugs! Most children are born without teeth but through kissing, sharing drinks and spoons, forks straws, licking ice cream, etc we transmit the bugs to our children.

The great news is that there are tests to see if you are high risk for cavities, it only takes 20 minutes and there is treatment. All members of the family should be tested and treated. Pregnant moms should the first one to be tested. It is a simple test that involves chewing on wax and placing saliva through different strip tests. The first test is a buffering capability to see what the pH of your saliva. The second test will determine how high the Strep Mutans bugs are in your saliva.

What is buffering capability? Normal saliva is a pH of 7, like water or milk. Acid are like lemons and vinegar and they have a lower pH below 5. When the pH of your mouth drops after eating something with carbohydrate or acid (drinks included), the pH of your mouth drops lower from 7 to 5.5 and that is when cavities can occur. Sipping on drinks or constant eating of carbohydrates will keep the mouth at a lower pH being more at risk for decay. BUT Wait, there’s more…This is normal saliva with a normal pH. Some folks with dry mouth (due to medications, menopause, chemotherapy, or just not within normal limits) do not have a pH of 7, it may be 6.2 even when stimulated by chewing on wax to produce more saliva.

Another scary thing – bottled water has a pH of 5!!!! If you have decided not to drink tap water and are drinking purely bottled water like Aquafina and Dasani – you are doing more damage than good. The soft drink companies add Magnesium sulfate as a preservative to the water which lowers the pH where it will demineralize the enamel.

What to do? Stay tuned for more….