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Learn How Cavities Are Contagious

 Cavities are a national epidemic that negatively impact the health of the country. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 78 percent of Americans have had at least one cavity by their 17th birthday (2002). This specific type of tooth decay can cause slews of issues in both adults and children and word on the street is that cavities are as contagious as the common cold.

Aside from the pain and discomfort of the condition, dental caries can cause bigger dental problems such as missed school hours (51 million school hours are lost annually, AAP.org), expensive emergency dental care and inhibited development due to poor communication, low self esteem and inability to eat nutritious foods. A parents’ love and care giving technique needs to be filled with a bit of caution to prevent spreading the condition and keeping their child’s mouth healthy.

How Cavities Can Spread

Dental cavities are a tooth disease resulting in the dissemination tooth enamel. One of the most common ways for the condition to develop is when simple sugars are left behind on teeth and oral bacteria kicks into gear to remove the compound. The bacteria will digest that sucrose in as little as twenty minutes and create a tooth destroying acid as a by-product of their digestive process. That acid is the leading culprit is causing dental cavities, but science has shown that the breakdown of food is not the only way it spreads. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria known for the dental dastardly deeds and humans can unknowingly pass the culprits forward. This can happen not only from parent to child, but from the innocent behaviors of loving couples.

Science has shown that smokers who kiss their children increase the odds of their child developing tooth decay. Cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, has been cited by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) as causing the contagious cavities. The organization analyzed the dental health data of 4,000 children aged 4 to 11 showed. Their research showed that the 32 percent of the children with higher cotinine levels had signs of tooth decay on their baby teeth. The simplest explanation for the levels was based on a smokers kiss as a transmitter of the bacteria.

Babies aren’t the only ones at risk for catching cavities. There is the strange tale of a 40-year-old woman who never had a dental issue in her life and was suddenly diagnosed with multiple dental caries and the earliest signs of gum disease. The culprit was traced to her new boyfriend, who had not seen a dentist in nearly two decades and had advanced gum disease.

Used Musical Instruments May Pose Cavity Risk

Playing a musical instrument can contribute to the development of a well-rounded child who is intelligent, thoughtful and cultivated. However what instrument they play and where the device has come from may also increase the odds of the spreading the bacteria associated with cavities.

Woodwind and brass instruments are costly and schools typically offer children loaners to master. Those used instruments can be coated in both bacteria and fungi, according to the March/April 2011 issue of General Dentistry. Without the proper sanitation, those organisms can thrive and be passed onto the next student. According to Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD, a spokesperson for the AGD, “As dentists, we see this same growth of bacteria in dentures, athletic mouth guards, and toothbrushes.â€

Scientists collected samples from 13 previously played instruments belonging to a high school band. Some of the instruments were played recently while others were not touched for months. Despite the time used, 442 different bacteria were unearthed. Some common organisms found were Staphylococcus, yeast and molds (Dental Tribune).

Cavity Prevention Tips

Suggesting that a parent stop doting on their child or that lovers stop kissing is futile. Instead, individuals are advised to pay special attention to the dental care regime to minimize the risks of cavities and tooth decay from gaining the upper hand. All adults are advised to eat a healthy diet low in sugar, drink clean water, brush and floss daily and go see the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Caregivers have the additional burden of protecting their little bundles of joy from the disease. Once the first baby tooth breaks the gum line, parents should need to start wiping down juniors’ gums after feeding to prevent tooth decay. Water should become the preferred beverage of choice and parents should start taking their children to a family dentist.

Individuals concerned about preventing cavities both in themselves and their loved ones can seek the professional advice of skilled dentists at 0900-DENTIST.

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