Sugar-laden candy bars aren’t the only cause of cavities. Tooth decay actually results when bacteria in your mouth feed on (starchy, sticky) food debris and produce acid as a byproduct. This mix of food, acid, saliva and germs clings to your teeth as plaque (a filmy substance) which can erode teeth enamel and cause cavities to form.
No matter what you eat, cavities won’t form without the help of such bacteria. These germs can spread from mouth to mouth via sneezing, shared food and utensils, making cavities contagious.
According to a study tooth decay is one of the most common infectious oral diseased. Researchers found that 30 percent of 3-month-olds, 60 percent of 6 month-olds and nearly 80 percent of 2-year-olds and nearly 80 percent of 2-year-lolds were infected with cavity-causing streptococcus mutans bacteria, a strain that’s especially likely to cause cavities.
Researchers believe that children caught the germs from their mothers; those with a history of cavities were more likely to pass the bacteria along to their children. As an adult, you’re far less susceptible to bacteria spread than children because they haven’t built up immunity yet.
Here are few tips for preventing cavity spread in your family:
• Go to the dentist: To keep from passing on a cavity, your first step should be to schedule a dental cheek-up. While warning signs such as tooth sensitivity, pain, or visible holes in teeth are cavity clues, one of the biggest mistakes patients make is to avoid the dentist until they’re in pain. Regular cleanings (every six months) can help prevent decay from turning into cavities and reduce levels of cavity-causing (and cavity spreading) bacteria in your mouth.
• Use a heavy-duty mouth rinse: If a cavity has formed, you’ll need a filling. But for early-stage decay, your dentist can prescribe mouth rinse with chlorhexidine, a powerful antiseptic that fights off bacteria and can prevent decay from developing into cavities.
• Chew sugar-free gum between meals: Pick a brand with the artificial sweetener xylitol and chew it three times a day for at least five minutes. Xylitol boosts saliva production, which help fight off bad bacteria.
• Don’t over share: If you have young kids, avoid sharing utensils with them or tasting food before serving it to them. Cover your mouth when you sneeze and if you’re really concerned, maybe kiss your kid on the cheek instead of the lips.
• Be a good dental patient: Heed the hygienist’s advice. Brush frequently (in the morning, at night and after meals), floss daily and put a cap on sugary drinks and snacks (instill the same tooth-friendly habits in your kids). With infants, clean your baby’s teeth with a soft cloth or gauze pad as soon as they start to come in; you can switch to a soft toothbrush when more teeth emerge.
Important Note: The articles presented are provided by third party authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of KhanaPakana.com. They should not be construed as medical advice or diagnosis. Consult with your physician prior to following any suggestions provided.
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