Did You Know Cavities Are Contagious From One Person To Another?
What Is A Cavity?
Essentially a cavity is a hole that forms in one’s tooth as a result of untreated tooth decay. A cavity can affect all the tissues of the tooth including the hard enamel and the soft pulp beneath it. Cavities will start small and then grow in size if left untreated. Cavities don’t always cause pain and without regular dental exams, tooth decay can often go unnoticed. If the cavities happen to spread to the gums, the problem then becomes much more serious, resulting in more harmful periodontal disease. The frightening thing is that research now concludes that these cavities are contagious from person to person.
Here Is How Cavities Are Contagious
It might surprise you to learn that cavities can, indeed spread from one person to another. A recent TikTok post by a Houston dentist brought this topic to the national spotlight recently. Just like how a cold sore can be contagious, cavities can spread by swapping spit. Cavities are usually caused by bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugar build up. When one comes into close contact with another who may have poor oral hygiene habits, it is possible to transmit the bacteria that can cause cavities.
According to studies, one can develop a cavity simply through kissing. When studying couples who perform kissing on a regular basis. researchers concluded that when one partner has poor dental hygiene, the other is prone to develop cavities as well.
This is also common among mothers that come into close contact with their children. They can spread the same tooth decay causing bacteria to their kids.
Children and infants are especially susceptible to tooth decay and it was noted that children who had a cavity, developed it by transmission by their care giver. A common way this occurs is when a parent tests the temperature of their child’s food by their own mouth. By tasting a baby’s food before feeding actually can transmit tooth destroying bacteria.
To help mitigate the affects of harmful bacteria in a child’s mouth, be sure to brush their teeth right away after they eat.
- According to one government study, 30% of three month olds, 60% of six months olds and 80% of two year olds were infected with the Streptococus Mutans bacteria strain, which is the harmful bacteria that causes cavities.
- Researchers strongly belived the bacteria was passed on to their children by care givers and parents by kissing and sharing food and other items.
When Cavities Are Contagious, Prevention Is Important
The very best approach to keeping cavities at bay is by prevention. Avoid sharing eating utensils, clean your baby’s pacifiers and be sure to brush your teeth and the teeth of your children on a regular basis to kill any contagious cavity bacteria.
If a cavity has already started to develop, see your dentitst immediately for options for treatment. If discovered early enough, flouride treatments can help reverse the progression of an infection. If it can’t be reversed, a tooth filling, dental crown or even a root canal may be required to treat the decay, which can be expensive especially when one doesn’t have dental insurance.
Contact the Dental and Denture Care Center today to schedule your routine cleaning and to check for cavities. Call us today at (352) 848-1050 or contact us on our website here to schedule your next appointment. Our team will thoroughly check for any cavities and offer the best options for treatment to help you maintain a confident and beautiful smile.