Did the title of this blog post make you do a double take? We get it. No one really ever talks about how dental cavities can spread from one person to another, but they absolutely can! A proper oral health routine that includes brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and regular flossing (especially after meals) is still the best way to prevent cavities, but there are a few other things you might want to keep in mind, too.
Dental cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth, but did you know that your susceptibility for cavities is partly genetic? The plaque in your mouth and your saliva are both affected by your genes, which is why some people seem to have fewer cavities than other people. Crazy, right?
Even though there’s one part of the equation we cannot control, it’s still a really good idea to do everything you possibly can to prevent dental cavities from forming. This includes doing your best to avoid swapping mouth bacteria with other people!
How to Avoid Spreading Dental Cavities
Pacifiers and Bottles
The spread of cavities can start very young. Babies are always dropping their pacifiers and bottles on the floor, and of course, we don’t want to put that dirty nipple back in their mouth! So caregivers sometimes will “rinse” it off in their own mouth before giving it back to the baby. I’m sure you’ve seen this before, or maybe you’ve even done it yourself. This is actually a very common way to spread oral bacteria. Carry wipes or a back up with you so you don’t have to use your own mouth to wash dropped pacifiers or bottles!
If you kiss someone who has a high susceptibility for cavities, kissing might be a little dicey. You want to make sure the person you are smooching goes in for regular dental check-ups so you can keep bacteria out of the equation. You want to feel good about puckering up for your sweetie… not worried about whether it’s going to lead to dental cavities!
You might think no one would ever share their toothbrush, but you’d be surprised. We don’t want to gross you out, but in a survey on this subject, 24% of people said they’ve shared their toothbrush with their partners and 18% of them said they’ve shared with their children. We advise against this.
If your kids are brushing their teeth in a group setting (like at a sleepover or camp), you also want to make sure no one is sharing, that the toothbrushes are all stored properly, and that kids aren’t touching their toothbrush to a shared toothpaste tube, which can also spread bacteria.
Preventing cavities starts with regular dental cleanings. If it’s been six months since your last cleaning, it’s time to come see us. A professional dental cleaning removes soft and hard build up, and we can also check for other potential issues before they become a serious problem. Call us at 708-460-6699 or click here to request your appointment!