Do you Chew Food for your Baby?
Do you chew food for your baby? All mothers and fathers mean well and want what’s best for their babies…
As for humans, please do not chew the food and feed it to your baby. This action has been seen quite a number of times in public and some are surprisingly even promoted on other articles and websites. While all intentions are out of love, it really is not that good for the baby. What one is essentially doing is transferring bacteria in the adult’s mouth and into the baby. This type of action will bring more cavities down the road for the little ones along with other infections which can occur – bacterial, viral and even fungal.
Some may contest that this action may bolster the immune system for the infant. Can those few confidently say that they are not harboring any oral diseases or other inapparent infections for that matter? To make an extreme point, transmissions of pre-chewed food from a person with AIDS to child has been documented . (HIV is not even a resilient virus outside of the body.) Besides cavities, there is much greater chance of giving babies diseases via pre-chewed food ie. fungal infections such as candidiasis, bacterial infections such as strep throat, and various viruses causing colds and other gastrointestinal problems. Furthermore, your baby’s immune system is very weak and still developing. The baby is particularly susceptible to infections that may not be symptomatically showing in the adult. The total immune capacity of the baby at one year of age is around 60% of adult levels. The best course is to naturally let the normal flora of the baby develop. The baby will best adapt to the surrounding environment without any additional help from the parent.
There are documented studies in Pediatric Dentistry  showing that the mothers are the primary source of Streptococcus mutans in children, the main bacteria that causes cavities . Sharing utensils, giving kisses and even blowing on the food to cool it down increases the risk of transmission of Streptococcus mutans to the child. Your baby is especially vulnerable to cavities because the enamel of the teeth is soft when they first erupt.
So what if chewed food has already been fed to the baby? There is no need to worry about it too much. [If your baby has teeth that are showing, it is good hygienic practice to start brushing the baby’s teeth. One can use a moistened gauze with water and gently wipe the teeth and the gums. Using a special baby toothbrush with baby toothpaste will work just as well. At the very least brush your baby’s teeth in the morning and evening.] If the baby is currently doing fine just don’t do it again in the future. There are indeed many other factors that can contribute to oral health of the baby – genetic factors ie. amount of saliva produced, whether one is a mouth-breather or not, types of food ingested, hygienic practices, etc. This tip is written to serve as a preventive measure and not a 100% cause and effect since every adult mouth has a unique set of microbial flora.
With that said, it is the best interest for your child’s oral health not to chew the food and feed it to your baby - instead mash it up by other physical and hygienic means.
 Gaur, A.H., Dominguez, K.L., Kalish, M.L., Rivera-Hernandez, D., et al. Practice of Feeding Premasticated Food to Infants: A Potential Risk Factor for HIV Transmission. Pediatrics. 2009;124:658-666
 Berkowitz RJ. Mutans streptococci: Acquisition and transmission. Pediatr Dent. 2006;28:106–109. discussion 92-8.
 Law, V., Seow, W.K., Townsend, G. Factors influencing oral colonization of mutans striptococci in young children. Aust Dent J; 2007 June;52(2):93-100