Are Cavities Contagious?

June 17, 2014 | Posted in General Information | Be the first one to comment

One of the great many misconceptions people have about tooth decay is that it is an inherited trait. Many patients will often state, 'my Mom/Dad had bad teeth so I have bad teeth'. This is untrue. There are some genetic traits associated with teeth such as congenitally missing teeth, growth pattern of the jaw bones (Angles Class I, II and III), amelogenesis imperfecta to name a few.

Tooth decay is not inherited. It is 100% the result of the bacterial effects on our teeth. It is an infectious and contagious disease. In fact, it is the second most common disease in North America - second only to the common cold.

When we are born, we lack the bacterial flora in our mouths that are responsible for tooth decay. These bacteria are acquired following exposure; i.e. we become infected! This is most often caused by Mom or Dad sharing spoons with children. The longer we can delay exposure to these bacteria in young children, the lower the risk of developing tooth decay. Think about this before sharing utensils, food and cups with your children!

We can not blame our parents for tooth decay. Proper hygiene practices and diet can easily keep cavity causing bacteria in check and prevent decay!


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