Are Cavities Really Contagious?

1 September 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you diligently brush your teeth and floss every day, then you probably think you know all you need to know about cavities. Would you be surprised to learn that cavities are contagious? It's hard for some people to believe, but cavities can be contagious and here's everything you need to know about it.

Who Can Catch Cavities

You might think the transferring of germs only happens to smaller children because they are more susceptible to it, but bacteria can easily be transferred between adults as well. While small children are more susceptible to the bacteria that's transferred in saliva, they are not the only ones that can get cavities from other people.

The bacteria that's transferred in saliva is Streptococcus mutans, which gets into your teeth and gums and feeds the plaque that causes cavities. The bacteria create lactic acid, which can be very harmful to your teeth. It's something already present in the human body, which is why it can be easily spread between people.

How Do You Prevent Catching Cavities?

While you know to avoid cavities by brushing your teeth regularly, especially after you eat sweets, you may not be familiar will how to keep saliva from spreading them. If you have a significant other with poor dental habits, then you'll need to keep up with your own dental appointments. It's also a good idea to try and talk them into going to the dentist and taking better care of their teeth. Let some of your healthy habits rub off on them.

Use a mouthwash and toothpaste that is approved by your dentist. Keep up with brushing daily and flossing often. Sometimes significant others and family members share toothbrushes. You shouldn't share your toothbrush with anyone else. It's also a good idea to switch out your toothbrush every three to four weeks because bacteria can gather on it as well.

If you're the mother or father of small children, don't hold their spoons or pacifiers in your mouth while your hands are full. Don't taste your child's food and then feed it to them. Parents don't think about these types of things, but they can really affect your child's teeth.

Since you know now that cavities are contagious, you can prevent the spread of bacteria to you and from you to your loved ones. Keep in mind that good dental health equals good overall health, and avoid sharing saliva when it can be helped.

For more information on how to prevent cavities, talk to a dentist at an office like Crest Hill Family Dental.