Can Cavities Spread From One Person To Another?
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cavities are possibly one of the least things you can think of as contagious. However, cavities can also spread like the way you catch a cold. This February, we will share how cavities spread from one person to another and how you can protect your loved ones from getting them.
What are cavities?
Cavities are the result of tooth decay due to the acids released by the disease-causing bacteria. Once acids are successful in breaking down the enamel, the next target would be the dentin, where blood vessels are found. Bacteria only need sugar and acids for larger cavities to form and destroy the tooth structure.
How and when do cavities spread?
Cavities spread through saliva. The cavity-causing bacteria can be transferred to another person during an exchange of saliva. That means you can acquire a cavity through the following situations:
Sharing of toothbrush
Dentists always remind us that we can share anything in the world but toothbrushes. The disease-causing bacteria found in plaque and blood can accumulate in your toothbrush without you noticing it. So, when you use your loved one’s toothbrush, you’re welcoming a new set of disease-causing bacteria to enter your body.
Storing multiple toothbrushes next to each other
Our toothbrushes can still hold disease-causing bacteria even if we wash them several times a day. When toothbrush heads are placed close to each other, you are already transferring the bacteria and germs indirectly to your loved ones.
As advised by most dental professionals, toothbrushes should be stored apart, placed upright, and without cover to let them dry. It is also recommended to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months to get rid of the accumulated bacteria in your toothbrush.
Anything can start with a kiss, even tooth decay. As unappealing as it may sound, kissing is a direct exchange of saliva wherein the bacteria can freely migrate to another person’s mouth. Not to mention your high probability of acquiring cavities if your partner has poor oral hygiene or has an early stage of tooth decay.
Babies are the most at risk with the exchange of bacteria through saliva since they have underdeveloped immune systems. According to a study from the University of Louisville, mothers with dental cavities can most likely spread the cavity-causing bacteria to their kids through kissing or sharing utensils like spoons.
Sharing utensils like spoons, forks, and glasses
Sharing your drinks is once known as an act of indirect kiss. Since sharing of utensils has become a norm, so does the spread of cavity-causing bacteria. The saliva left on the utensils becomes the passport of the bacteria to transfer from one mouth to the other. Due to utensil sharing, researchers found that 80% of two-year-old kids were infected with the cavity-causing bacteria from their parents or guardians.
Resolve your dental cavities now before it spreads to your family
Protect other people from acquiring cavities from you by maintaining good oral hygiene and boosting your oral health. Start preventing cavities by mastering the habit of:
- Brushing and flossing
- Regular cleanings with your dentist
- Chewing sugar-free gum to help flush away bacteria
- Taking a dental exam yearly to keep your teeth and gums in check
Don’t let tooth decay spoil your way of expressing love to the people who matter to you. Locust Family Dentistry provides comprehensive restorative dental services in Locust. Schedule an appointment now, and let us help you fight cavities and stop them from spreading.