Could Cavities Be Contagious?
October 13, 2016
As parents, you work hard to help your children prevent cavities. You make sure they are brushing and flossing regularly and you limit their intake of sugary foods and drinks. However, did you know that the bacteria that causes tooth decay can actually be shared from person to person. That’s right; cavities are contagious.
Cavities develop as a result of a bacteria called mutans streptococcus. This bacteria loves to feed on sugars in the mouth. They create an acid that destroys the outer layer of the teeth (enamel). This process continues until an area of decay or cavity forms. While brushing and flossing is the best way to eliminate bacteria from your mouth, the task may be a daunting one if the bacteria is consistently being transferred from another source.
To prevent the spread of cavity causing bacteria in your family, implement these tips:
Don’t Share your Fork or Spoon
Families have a habit of eating off of someone else’s plate or using each other’s eating utensils when they want to steal a bite. This is especially common between a parent and young child or toddler. Unfortunately, while you think you may be sharing some yummy food, you may also be sharing cavity causing bacteria too.
Don’t Clean A Pacifier In Your Mouth
It is not uncommon to see parents pop their child’s pacifier in their mouth for a quick and easy cleaning after it has dropped on the floor. While you may think you are being a martyr for your child’s health, you may actually be doing more harm than good. To avoid transferring mouth bacteria to your child, find a sink and clean your child’s pacifier properly.
Don’t Share Toothbrushes
Each member of your family should have his or her own toothbrush. Don’t let your children get lazy and grab their sibling’s toothbrush instead. In addition, store their toothbrushes separately to avoid the transfer of germs between bristles that are touching while drying.
Don’t Neglect Your Oral Hygiene
The best way to stop contagious cavity germs is to have a clean mouth. Brush for two minutes, twice a day and floss daily. This creates a sterile oral environment where bacteria can’t thrive.
For more on tooth decay prevention, talk to the professionals of Soft Touch Dentistry. We love educating families on the best ways to care for their smile at home.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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O’Fallon, IL 62269