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Dental Cavities Can Be Contagious

We have all heard how cold and flu viruses are contagious, especially when everyone is cooped up indoors for the winter. Something you may never have considered is that dental cavities are just as contagious. No, the cavities don’t fly around in the air looking for unsuspecting mouths to invade, but human interactions can spread this dental headache.

Now before you get all worried, this is not an epidemic that is going to ravage the world. Remember in last week’s article how we talked about dental plaque containing several forms of bacteria? We also talked about how when food is introduced the bacteria start to produce acid, and when not properly taken care of the acid leads to various dental issues, including cavities. This bacteria-filled plaque is where the contagious nature of cavities starts.

Let’s look at two examples of how this spreads from one person to another. First off are parents with newborn babies. When the parent tastes the baby food to make sure it is the proper feeding temperature, the bacteria from their mouth transfers to the food. This is then fed to the baby, thus bringing the cavity producing agents into the child’s mouth. No, you should not stop feeding your baby or testing their food for proper temperatures. However, you can do things like rinsing your mouth out with antiseptic mouthwash to help cut down how much bacteria is transferred.

A second example is when a couple embraces in a kiss. This loving act transfers the bacteria from one person to the next much the same as a parent testing food for their kids. The bacteria travel to the lips and then transfer to the opposite person.

Does this mean we should all stop in fear of cavity transferring activities? Of course, it doesn’t! Brushing your teeth twice a day, using dental floss, rinsing with a good mouthwash, and seeing your dentist are all front line measures for combating this contagious nature. You live in a world full of germs and bacteria, and must learn the best ways to keep yourselves safe while still living a bountiful life!