As a kid I remember getting many fillings. Also remember distinct visits to the dentist where my brother screamed. It seemed cavities were a part of life.
When I was in the 5th grade I lived on a dairy farm. More importantly our back yard was a courtyard which was a covered liquid drain pool for faeces and urine. We had five kids in the family at that time but our rate of acquiring ear infections, streptococcus, bronchitis, and sinus infections was, as I recall, high. It might have been the environment, but it was also true that we passed the illnesses from child to child.
One day that same brother who screamed years earlier at the dentist, piped up and said: we keep getting sick because we share toothpaste. Even if we have separate toothbrushes, sharing toothpaste is a common point of contact. After that our parents bought us each our own toothpaste and we did see some lower rates of illness.
Separate toothpaste sources is more than a flavor choice in my family. We don’t drink after each other and we do try not to use the same toothpaste source to reduce the number of vectors available for spreading illnesses across our family.
When in was in Highschool one of my classmates’s dad was a pediatric dentist. He told me that one way to think about carries was as a communicable disease. Since it was caused by a bacteria, it could spread. This has also helped the thinking in our house.
This year we are celebrating 10 child-years with no dental carries! We have a 7 year old and a 3 year old. I brush their teeth 3-4 times a week, with other supplemental brushing on their own. I use the oral-b brush in the photo because it has reduced my gum inflammation due to over brushing with manual brushes.
These factors, along with a high yogurt, no-high fructose corn syrup, no-candy, no-soda diet has so-far pushed us into a more healthy oral hygiene situation for my kids than for me when I was a kid.