Are Cavities Contagious?

We take every precaution to keep ourselves free from germs and healthy. We avoid all the major diseases that are often contagious, but did you know that cavities can be contagious?  It’s true! You might be sharing the bacteria that causes cavities with those you love.
 
How Can Cavities be Contagious?
 
Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in your mouth feed on debris and turns into acid. This substance then clings to your teeth as a substance often referred to as plaque. When left alone, plaque can erode the tooth enamel and cause cavities. 
 
Cavities cannot form without the presence of bacteria. This bacteria is capable of spreading mouth to mouth like many diseases. When you share food, utensils or kisses, you have the potential to share the cavity causing bacteria with others.
 
So what should we do; stop smooching the ones we love? There are some things you can do to prevent spreading bacteria.
 
Steps to Prevent Cavities from Spreading
 
Make regular trips to your Burke dentist.
You should be visiting for cleanings twice a year. This is the perfect time for the dentist to inspect you for cavities. If you are having symptoms such as pain, sensitivity or holes in your teeth, you should make a new appointment to be seen right away.
 
Use a prescription mouth rinse.
For minor cavities, the dentist can prescribe a rinse with chlorhexidine. This is a strong antiseptic that fights bacteria. This rinse will stop the decay of new cavities.
 
Drink tap water.
Most tap water contains fluoride which will encourage your teeth to resist plaque. This is especially important for children.
 
Don’t share more than needed.
Keep your utensils to yourself and always cover your mouth when you sneeze. If you want to be extremely cautious, you could kiss your children on their cheeks instead of the mouth.
 
Practice good dental hygiene.
Brush twice daily and floss at least once. Then you will be able to head off dangerous cavities before they begin. Teach your children to share the same good dental habits and set them up for success.
 
To keep the bacteria at bay in your mouth, be sure you follow the steps above and talk to your Burke dentist about any further suggestions they might have. Call us today at 703-459-9495 to schedule your next appointment.

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