Oral contact is getting a bum rap lately, what with the recent study saying that oral sex causes more mouth cancer than cigarettes, and now, an article from the New York Times confirming that cavities are contagious. That’s right: With a simple kiss or even food exchange, you could give your friends and loved ones your tooth rot. You better believe they won’t be thanking you for that one.
Margaret Mitchell, a cosmetic dentist, told the Times: “In one instance, a patient in her 40s who had never had a cavity suddenly developed two cavities and was starting to get some gum disease.” It turns out the woman had started dating a man with gum disease who hadn’t seen a dentist in 18 years. (Does anyone else hear Liz Lemon screaming “Deal Breaker!” right now?) The cavity spread is caused by the transfer of decay-causing bacteria, which can be transmitted not only from direct oral contact, but through tasting or sharing food. Mitchell says that, because children and infants are especially vulnerable to the bacteria, they’re likely to pick it up from their caregivers when they taste food to make sure it’s not too hot.
Mitchell recommends the obvious: Brushing, flossing, and mouthwashing the hell out of your teeth, just like your dentist tells you to, every. time. you. go.
Next in bad oral health news: Sexually transmitted crazy mouth is not just a figment of Tina Fey’s imagination!
via New York Times