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Cavities Are Contagious!?

Can you spread cavities to your child?

I do it every day. Taste my daughter’s food to make sure it isn’t too hot. Am I possibly infecting her with cavities when I do this?

Researchers say yes.

A trip to the dentist with the kids could take on a whole new level of stress.  The claim:  not only do you have to worry about cavities, but you have to worry about them spreading.  Researchers tell the New York Times it happens all the time.

Although sugar is considered the cavity culprit cavities are mainly caused by bacteria on the teeth.  One of the byproducts they create is acid, which destroys teeth.  Just as the cold virus is spread, so is the bacteria clinging to your teeth.  One of the most common is Streptococcus mutants which Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to.  Studies have shown that most kids pick up the bacteria from their caregivers – like when a parent tastes food to make sure it isn’t too hot for a child.

Similarly, cavities can also be transmitted between couples. Dr. Margaret Mitchell, a cosmetic dentist in Chicago says, “In one instance, a patient in her 40s who had never had a cavity suddenly developed two cavities and was starting to get some gum disease.” The woman told Mitchell she had started dating a man who hadn’t been to a dentist in 18 years and had gum disease.

You know the drill – to reduce the risk you’ve got to brush, floss and you can chew sugarless which promotes saliva and washes away plaque and bacteria.

Photo: Flickr/com/WindRanch

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