Did You Know Your Cavities Could Give Others Cavities?
Posted on 9/15/2019 by Office
Humans need to eat in order to grow and thrive. When we eat, our bodies are provided with vital nutrients. It seems a straightforward act, until we look a little closer. Most of us understand that we are made up of more than meets the eye. While we chew and swallow, there are millions of bacteria, helping us—and hurting us—along the way.
What food doesn't make it into the esophagus, gets left behind in the mouth. These tiny morsels provide nutrients for bacteria already present in our mouths. Some of these bacteria help us begin the digestive process; some counteract bad breath. However, these food particles also feed harmful bacteria, resulting in cavities.
Can Cavities be Contagious?
The bacteria feeding on our leftovers turn out to be quite ambitious! They can be spread by sharing utensils, sneezing, coughing, kissing—any act in which saliva is shared from one person to the other. One of these bacteria is called Streptococcus mutans. Streptococcus mutans is especially dangerous to vulnerable people (children, the elderly, and sick), and particularly good at causing cavities.
Often, one or two people prepare the family meal, tasting a little bit here and there. We kiss our loved ones; a stranger coughs or sneezes in our vicinity. Regular activities can become dangerous when one of us is harboring active, harmful bacteria.
How Can We Prevent the Spread of Cavities?
It's important to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Avoid sharing utensils when possible, and make sure to wash hands and dishes thoroughly, using hot water and a strong, antibacterial soap.
A good oral hygiene regimen is crucial. We always recommend our patients brush and floss twice per day. It's important to visit us every 6 months for a routine check-up and cleaning. We'll make sure your mouth is free of plaque, and catch any cavities before they can cause serious harm to you or others.
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