“Doctor, I think I’ve caught tooth decay!”

“Doctor, I think I’ve caught tooth decay!”

Recently, it occurred to me how poorly documented it is that dental caries, can be passed from one person to another. Yes, so what you are thinking is true. Kissing a partner (or child) with tooth decay can result in the transmission of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes tooth decay, from one person to another.

So regardless of how good your oral hygiene is, if your partner has decay in their mouth, then you have a significantly higher chance of getting tooth decay. Clinically, we often see both couples in a relationship with tooth decay.

If saving your partner from tooth decay is not adequate motivation to get to the dentist, then saving your children from a life of misery at the dentist may be. Studies have found that the bacteria in our children’s mouths are a direct descendent from their parents mouths.

If we as parents have decay in our teeth, we harbor more of the decay causing bacteria, and we are more likely to spread the disease of dental caries to our children.

The best method to reduce the transmission of these bacteria to our loved ones is to maintain optimal oral hygiene through regular dental appointments to ensure that we have do not have active tooth decay. Otherwise, minimize the sharing of saliva by not sharing utensils, don’t share toothbrushes, don’t clean your child’s dummy with saliva and no kissing on the lips.