tooth-devay-cavities-are-contagious

You can definitely catch a flu. But,

Can you ever catch a cavity?

Yes!

Children are most prone to catching cavities, primarily from the babysitter or from the mother. Additionally, adults, mainly couples are also prone to catching cavities.

So, in this post we will learn about:

  1. The main culprit – “Streptococcus mutans” responsible for the spreading of cavities
  2. How these bacteria spread from a person to another?
  3. Study on the “Factors influencing oral colonization of mutans streptococci among children
  4. How to prevent the transferring of bacteria from an adult to a child?
  5. As a parent what you must know?
  6. Preventive measures for adults to avoid the spreading of cavities and gum diseases
  7. How can a dentist help?

Contagious Tooth Cavities: The Real Culprits Are Bacteria, Called Streptococcus mutans

Research shows, bacteria that cause cavities can transmit from a person to another. Sugar, candies, and sweets are usually blamed for rotten teeth, but the real culprits are bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans, which are contagious. Just the way a cold virus can pass on from a person to another, cavity-causing bacteria can also move from one to another. They feed on food particles left in your mouth, and the acid they produce eats away teeth. The bacteria/bugs travel easily from person to person.

How It Spreads From A Person To Another?

These bacteria can spread from mouth to mouth via shared food and utensils, sneezing, kissing, and more. Studies has also shown many patients, who have clean, healthy mouths, discover a couple of cavities after entering into a relationship with a partner who has cavities, gum disease or hasn’t been to the dentist in many years.

Food For Thought: As an adult, you’re less susceptible to bacteria spread than children because they haven’t built up immunity yet.

Research On The Spreading Of Streptococcus mutans

A 2007 study found that cavity-causing bacteria was found in the mouths of 30% of 3-month-old babies, 60 percent of 6-month-olds, and more than 80% of 24-month-olds with primary teeth. Most common way bacteria is transferred to infants and children is mom putting the pacifier in their mouth when they want to “clean” it and then put it in their child’s mouth. Another very common way is by tasting the food themselves to make sure it’s not hot before feeding their child, or using the same spoon that mom ate from. This could also be the babysitter or any other person that is taking care of your baby.

Read More: Key factors involved in oral colonization of the cariogenic group of bacteria, mutans streptococci (MS)

How To Prevent Transferring Bacteria From Adult To Child

  1. No sharing food or utensils.
  2. Do not kiss your baby/child on the lips if you have cavities.
  3. Clean your baby’s gums with a wet gauze.
  4. Avoid giving kids sugary juices, especially at bed time.
  5. Teach your kids that there is no kissing on the play ground.
  6. Once they have teeth, use a small baby toothbrush to brush their teeth.
  7. If there is not a way to wash the pacifier, don’t use your mouth to do so.
  8. Teach your child that there is no sharing food or utensils with other kids.

As A Parent, What You Must Know?

The Use Of Power toothbrushes

Until children are about the age of eight they don’t have the manual dexterity to brush all of the plaque off by themselves.

The Use Of Sealants

Prevent four out of five cavities in children under the age of 15. Sealants are clear resin protective coatings for the chewing surfaces of your children’s teeth. Dentists usually start applying sealant as the permanent teeth start coming in but in especially cavity-prone kids, dentists are beginning to apply sealants to the children’s primary (baby) teeth to stop the chain of dental disease even earlier.

Must Follow Oral Care Practices For Parents:
  1. You need to brush and floss regularly.
  2. You need to keep your regular check up and cleanings every 6 months.
  3. Make your children aware about the importance of flossing and brushing.

Tips in preventing spread of cavity and gum infection in an adult:

  1. Chew sugar-free gum between meals.
  2. Good home care: brushing and flossing.
  3. Go to your dentist for regular check up and cleanings.
  4. Make sure your partner does not have cavities or gum disease.

How can your dentist help?

First, your dentist can make sure your mouth is free of decay and infection. After that, there are a couple of preventive measures listed below that are especially effective against these bacteria:

The use of antimicrobial rinses

A prescription rinse like Chlorhexidine can permanently disrupt the cell membrane of these bacteria reducing the levels of bacteria in your mouth thus preventing its transmission to your child or partner.

Fluoride application

Every 6 months your dentist can apply fluoride on your teeth for protection.

Using sealants

Usually applied on the chewing surfaces of permanent molars. Also, if there are cavities, a dentist might go for administering dental sealants to check further ailments.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a non-cavity causing sugar substitute found in some chewing gums that makes it almost impossible for Strep mutans to adhere and cause trouble.

Additional Info on Xylitol

Xylitol may be safely used in foods for special dietary uses, provided the amount used is not greater than that required to produce its intended effect.

Approved under: Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

Xylitol-US-Approval-by-Department-of-Health-and-Human-Services

CITE – 21CFR172.395

Finally,

Paying a visit to your dentist can help you understand and know the reason behind catching a cavity or a gum disease. Since cases can differ from individual to individual, a consultation can greatly help you to get started and grab an overview of the treatment process and its costs. If you are in need of immediate help, feel free to call us today!

Did this post help you find what you were looking for? Let us know in the comments. Share this post with your social peers, family, and friends and keep following this space as we keep posting helpful info on dentistry, dental care and oral hygiene on a periodic basis.

newdentistdun

Author: newdentistdun

Dr. Paul Hung of Village Family Dental - Dentist in Duncanville has been serving in and around Dallas for more than a few years now. Read more

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