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Tooth Decay Risk in C-Section Babies

Earlier this month, a British Medical Journal study debunked the myth that natural childbirth is any safer in a hospital than at home, I suspect, making some of you future parents rethink your options.Here's one more reason to go the natural route, and stay away from a Cesarean section if you can: Researchers have discovered many more C-section babies were infected by a bacterium that caused cavities more than a year later, than those born naturally.

Scientists studied the early spread of tooth decay by comparing 29 C-section babies with 127 born naturally. Based on previous studies, the earlier streptococcus mutans forms in a child, the quicker they'll be prone to cavities. Because Cesarean-born kids are exposed to fewer bacteria at birth, scientists believe they have a diminished resistance to them.

One caveat: The C-section mothers who participated in the study also had greater amounts of tooth decay, low family incomes and sexually transmitted diseases.

Fact is, about one-quarter of babies are delivered by Caesarean section in this country and most are unnecessary. Generally, C-sections are not the best option as they are frequently done for the convenience of a physician.

Journal of Dental Research, Vol. 84, No. 9, September 2005: 806-811

BBC News August 28, 2005

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