What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in a tooth that forms because of untreated tooth decay. A cavity can affect the hard tissues (enamel, dentin and cementum) and soft tissue (pulp) of a tooth. Cavities start off small, but gradually grow if left untreated.
Since tooth decay does not always cause pain, cavity progression can often go unnoticed. However, once the decay reaches the teeth and gums, the problem is more serious.
Do Tooth Cavities Spread?
It may be surprising to learn that tooth cavities spread and are contagious. Similar to catching a cold sore, you can also catch a cavity by swapping spit. Cavities are usually caused by sugar build up that decays teeth. However, studies have shown that cavities can be transmitted through close contact with another person who has poor oral hygiene.
Indeed, studies have found that one person can develop a cavity on their tooth via kissing. This is especially common if their partner suffers from poor oral hygiene. This was found by evaluating kissing couples.
The precursors to cavities ride it out on the bacteria contained in saliva. So, when two people are kissing with vigour, they can transmit these harmful bacteria to one another. The same goes for mothers that get too close to their babies – they can spread a tooth cavity to the child.
In fact, infants and children are particularly vulnerable to cavity causing bacteria. In most cases where a child has a cavity, they’ve inherited it from their caregiver. One common way this can happen is when a parent tests the temperature of a child’s food with their mouth.
Don’t taste food yourself before feeding it to your baby. By doing this you enable the spread of germs which can lead to poor oral health!
Cavity care in this circumstance involves timely control of the colonisation of the cariogenic bacteria in the mouths of young children. In other words, brush their teeth right after eating to kill germs and bacteria found in the mouth.
- 30% of three-month-olds, 60% of six-month-olds, and 80% of two-year-olds were infected with Streptococcus mutans. This is a strain of bacteria involved in the process of tooth decay.
- Researchers believe bacteria were passed to children by their parents or guardians, by kissing or sharing items.
The best approach to tooth cavities is, of course, a preventative approach. Avoid the use of shared utensils, clean baby pacifiers in the sink and brush you and your children’s teeth regularly. By doing this, you help to avoid the spread of oral bacterium that can cause cavities to grow.
If your cavity is already unavoidable, it’s certainly worth seeing your local dental service and discussing treatment options. Fluoride toothpaste treatments can sometimes help restore your tooth’s enamel and very simply reverse a cavity in its early stages. Otherwise, if the cavity is developed, you may need fillings, crowns, root canals or tooth extractions! So, it’s definitely worth nipping the problem in the bud to avoid invasive and expensive dental treatments.
Contact Sydney Park Dental for all cavity inspections and general dental care. Our friendly team operate 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Sunday. We close late on Tuesdays and Thursdays – call us for a quick dental checkup today!
We’ll evaluate the presence of any cavities and may offer other dentist recommended treatments including brushing and flossing. This is to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health. We cater to all Inner West, Sydney patients and are located in Sydney Park Village, Erskineville. We can’t wait to see you soon for your next check up.