Are Cavities Contagious?

Are Cavities Contagious?

Posted by Dr. Thomas Flavin Oct 31,2021

This is a thumbnail image of blog Are Cavities Contagious?

Cavities are not contagious. However, they can occur when bacteria in the mouth have enough food to eat and a moist environment to flourish. The acid produced by these bacteria can cause the enamel to weaken and form a hole that exposes the sensitive inner layer of the tooth, the dentin.

However, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be spread to family members through saliva, which is why it’s important to teach children after the age of two to brush their teeth regularly and floss at least once a day to prevent decay. If a family member currently has a cavity, make sure you use proper precautions when doing things like sharing utensils or kissing.

If you’re experiencing frequent cavities despite good oral hygiene, speak with your dentist about whether your genetics put you at increased risk for decay. They may suggest adding fluoride treatments to your hygiene routine or prescribing special toothpaste to add to your daily brushing routine. Lastly, certain illnesses can create an environment more conducive to the bacteria that cause tooth decay. For example, people with suppressed immune systems may be more likely to develop cavities because their bodies can’t fight off infections as well as a healthy person’s body can. Likewise, dry mouth syndrome contributes to a higher risk for cavities due to decreased levels of saliva that help wash away bacteria and food particles from the mouth.

By continuing to visit the dentist every six months for cleanings and exams, you’ll be able to prevent serious oral health issues from developing in the future. 

Are Cavities Hereditary?

While scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint a specific gene that causes tooth decay, they have found that certain conditions and even habits can be passed down from parent to child. However, just because your parents had cavities doesn’t mean you’ll have them too. The only way to prevent tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene habits and visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams.

A cavity is caused by bacteria that feed on the sugars in your food and produce acid that demineralizes the enamel. Without fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, this erosion would be much worse. This is why it’s so important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. It’s also important to visit the dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

If you wish to learn more, contact Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis at 4224 Watson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63109, or call (314) 832-1366. 

Leave A Reply

Please fill all the fields.

Patient Info

Save time by completing your new patient forms and sending them to us online or bring them with you to your first visit.

Office Hours

  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRI - SUNClosed