Are cavities contagious?

Are cavities contagious?

WE ALL KNOW it’s possible to catch a cold from someone who’s under the weather. Did you know cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person-to-person too?

Bacteria Is At The Root Of Cavities

While sugary treats often take the blame for causing cavities, the real culprits for tooth decay are bacteria. Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Lactobacillus (and a few others) are bacteria which stick to our teeth and eat food particles left behind from our last meal, producing acids which threaten gum health and cause tooth decay.

And just like cold-causing bacteria, these bacteria like to travel.


Bacteria Travels From Person-to-Person

Whether it’s through sharing a drink or kissing a loved one, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person-to-person the same way many other bacterial infections can. Studies have shown that “catching a cavity” is not only possible, it happens far more often than you might think.

One of the most common transmissions is from parent to child. Cavity-causing bacteria are commonly passed along to a child when a mother or father tastes food to ensure it’s not too hot or when he or she “cleans” a pacifier by sucking on it before handing it over.

Take Simple Steps To Stop The Spread of Bacteria

What can you do to reduce your risk of transmitting these cavity-causing bacteria to someone else?

·         Follow our six-step caries management program (see previous blogs for further details)

·         Be mindful of drinks and eating utensils you’re sharing and the risks that are involved.

·         Be aware of other behaviors which may spread these bacteria.

What causes cavities?

Trust Our Practice For Solutions

Nobody wants to inadvertently “catch a cavity.” Our practice is committed to providing you with the best information possible to help you create a healthy and resilient smile. If you have any questions about this, be sure to ask us! We love visiting about your oral health. You can also leave a comment by clicking on the “contact us” button at the top of the page or you could reach out to us on social media.

Thank you for reading our blog! We value our relationship with you as our patients and friends!

Feel free to share this blog if you know someone who might benefit from it. And here’s To Your Health!

Image of couple by Flickr user bigbirdz used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

A Skinny on the Bugs

A Skinny on the Bugs

Bugs, yuck!

I found this poor insect dead and protruding from a silver leaf maple tree in my front yard. Strange, isn’t it? Bugs are a fact of life. They are all around us and in us as well (the bacterial kind, that is). Without those bacterial bugs we couldn’t survive. Did you know there are more bacteria in your body than your own cells? Most of the time our bodies and bacteria work together in perfect harmony to accomplish things we couldn’t do without those little helpers. But sometimes things get out of balance and problems arise. One of those problems can be cavities (dental caries, we call them).

There are almost countless species of bacteria out there. Of those bacteria, only a few cause dental caries. The big players are two called streptococcus mutants and lactobacillus. There are other bugs that play a role as well, but they all have some characteristics in common. They love to eat simple carbohydrates (think sugar) and they love an acidic environment.

So what can we do?

The caries management system addresses the bacteria in several ways. We remove the bacteria, we kill the bacteria, we turn your mouth into a hostile environment, we trick the bacteria into eating xylitol (which they can’t digest, so they die), and we clean your teeth in our office and teach you how to clean most effectively at home.

 You might be interested in this video that introduces some information on xylitol.


xylitol, one of the secret weapons in the fight against tooth decay

Target acquired!

As you can see, the caries management system addresses the harmful bacteria. In fact, it targets the culprits in some very specific and effective ways…just like my cat, Sidney, is targeting this cat toy!

Next time I’ll discuss how the caries management system actually changes the teeth so they are more resistant to hostile attack.

By the way, I’d be curious to know if anyone can tell me what’s going with the bug in that first picture. Any ideas?

Thanks for reading my blog and stay tuned!