Excel Dental Blog

Can You Catch A Cavity? Research Says “Yes”

cosmetic dentistrySPRINGFIELD, MO– We’re at the tail end of cold and flu season, but there’s another health threat making its rounds. According to multiple studies, cavities are contagious.

Just when you thought your toothbrush was enough to protect you from tooth decay, research suggests that cavity-causing bacteria is can be spread from person to person, just like a cold.

“Many people view cavities simply as a product of too many sweets or poor hygiene, but tooth decay is a serious infectious disease,” says Dr. Marc Barnett, a dentist in Springfield, Missouri.

Tooth decay is caused by a buildup of oral bacteria that feeds on food debris, not necessarily a candy overload. The chief culprits of tooth decay are the bacteria Streptococcus sobrinus and Streptococcus mutans, which can also promote gum disease. Both are easily transmitted through contact.

“Bacteria associated with tooth decay can be spread through kissing or sharing a drink or utensils,” warns Dr. Tracy Davis. “But it’s not just couples that are at risk.”

Children are especially vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria. In fact, tooth decay is recognized as the most common chronic childhood disease. It’s five times more common than asthma.  Research shows kids most often catch harmful oral bacteria from parents through innocent actions like sharing a drink or tasting a child’s food to ensure it’s a safe temperature.

“It’s tough, but parents should always be mindful of their child’s oral wellbeing,” Dr. Kelly Barnett says. “Making small adjustments like not sharing utensils can help prevent cavities and the dental work that comes along with them.”

At Excel Dental, we encourage you to make an effort to keep your mouth clean and avoid spreading bacteria- not just for your sake, but for the dental health of your loved ones. By making dental care a priority, you can reduce your risk of developing…or catching…a cavity.

“Brush after meals, floss daily and use an antimicrobial mouth rinse to combat the onset of tooth decay,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “Regular preventive care from a dentist is also vital, since we can clean your teeth and gums more effectively than a toothbrush.”

Avoiding cavities is important. If left untreated, a cavity will grow quickly and trigger more serious dental conditions, like tooth abscess, gum disease and an infection of the tooth’s canal.

Whether it’s due to a kiss or a substandard oral hygiene, tooth decay necessitates prompt professional care. If you suspect you have a cavity, call us. Our restorative dentistry services are modern, effective and will return your smile back to optimal health.

Excel Dental is a trusted provider of preventive care, mini dental implants, family dentistry and cosmetic dentistry in the Springfield, Missouri area. Contact our office to learn more.