Are Cavities Contagious?

kissCavities aren’t contagious are they? How can they be? You’ve probably never considered that possibility before. However, you can catch cavities from other people. Okay…well…you can catch the cavity-causing bacteria from other people, and today your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds explains how cavities can be contagious.

When Sharing is not Good

When you were growing up your parents may have drilled you about not sharing food, drinks, or utensils with your friends.  Was it because they didn’t want you catching cavities? No. It was probably not for that reason. Your parents were probably not aware that cavities are contagious. They were mainly concerned with your health. However, studies have shown that the bacteria associated with cavities can be transferred through saliva. Therefore, if you are dating someone who has a lot of cavities, you may begin getting cavities as well. Dentists have seen this happen first hand.  Dentists have reported treating patients with prior good dental health for cavities after that patient began seeing someone with cavities or periodontal disease.

Swapping Bacteria

The harmful oral bacteria that cause cavities and contribute to the development of periodontal disease can be transferred from person to person in several ways including:

  • By kissing
  • By sharing utensils
  • By drinking out of someone else’s glass
  • By sharing a toothbrush

Just as you can infect someone else, or become infected with cavity causing bacteria, so too can you infect your children in the following ways:

  • By kissing them on the mouth
  • By blowing on their food or formula to cool it down
  • By eating off the same plate
  • By using the same utensils
  • By drinking out of the same bottle, can, straw, or glass
  • By holding your child’s pacifier in your own mouth

Cavity causing bacteria are contagious so stop sharing your germs, and be careful who you kiss!

About your Des Moines Dentist

Contact your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.