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Can Dental Cavities Be Contagious?

Woman in dental chairIt may never have occurred to many parents that dental cavities could be contagious. Even the most vigilant parents have been surprised to learn that their child has a dental cavity because he or she practices great oral hygiene habits. But if the bacteria that cause decay and cavities are being shared, even the best dental care can fail.

Dental cavities are caused by a certain type of bacteria known as mutans streptococcus. The bacteria feed on the sugar left on your teeth and creates acid that eats away at your tooth enamel. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and dental cavities. This means that your children may not be inheriting “bad teeth,” but may actually just be passing along the cavity-causing bacteria.

Avoid Sharing Cavity-Causing Bacteria

If your family tends to share the bacteria that causes dental cavities, there are a few ways to put a stop to it:

  • Don’t Share Utensils – If you have young children in the house, it might be common to share bites of food from one another’s utensils. This can spread bacteria from one mouth to another, so we suggest keeping utensils separate.
  • Don’t Share Toothbrushes – Every person in your house should have his or her own toothbrush. Please replace your toothbrushes every 3-4 months or once the bristles begin to fray. Lastly, make sure to rinse toothbrushes in hot water after every use.
  • Set an Example – Lastly, the best way to ensure your family’s oral hygiene is by caring for your own oral hygiene. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing every day and visiting Auburn Family Dental every 6 months and your family will follow suit.

If you’re concerned that your family may be sharing bacteria, or to make an appointment at Auburn Family Dental, please contact our Wichita, KS family dental office today.  

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