Research says yes – tooth decay is no different than other infections
Many people don’t know that dental decay is a transmissible bacterial infection no different than other infections that impact our bodies.
Dental decay is caused by a bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, which is contagious, just like the common cold or flu and can be spread from adults to children.
How it Spreads
The bacteria is passed from adult to child from kissing, sharing utensils or any other activity that transmits any tiny particle of saliva from one mouth to the other – even talking closely to a child can transmit the bacteria.
The window of infectivity is especially critical to children from 6 to 36 months old, but all children are susceptible. Step mutans is not passed between adults.
Routine checkups for parents and Caregivers can help eliminate spreading the bacteria. If you are not getting routine checkups, you are at risk of spreading the infection. Operating under the philosophy of “if nothing hurts, everything is good” is not always true. You could be passing the infection without even knowing it.
If you’re not getting dental care on a regular basis, every six months, you could be putting your children at risk with every kiss.
Day Cares and Caretakers
Caretakers and day cares can also transmit infection, so can playmates, if children are allowed to share toys or eating utensils that are placed in the mouth. It is important to take a close look at the dental health of those caring for your child. If your child is in a daycare, ask if they provide prevention and ask about their rules regarding sharing toys and eating utensils and what steps they take to reduce the possibility of transmission from one child to another.
Being proactive in the care and treatment of your dental health will have a tremendous impact on your health but on the dental health of your child as well.
If you haven’t had a dental exam in the past 6 months call today to schedule an appointment.