Thursday, April 16, 2015

Contagious Cavities?

By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning with Smiles

Most people recognize that cavity problems seem to run in families. Research has definitely demonstrated the bacteria that cause cavities are contagious and we usually get ours from our caretakers when we are infants and first growing teeth. Immediate and inexpensive, or even free things people can do are:

1. Become a truly effective tooth brusher. Use disclosing tools (tablets, solutions, or kitchen food color) to show you the bacteria. Then teach yourself how to thoroughly clean your teeth. Check yourself every couple weeks until you are confident you have figured it out.

2. Become a flosser. Getting the bacteria out each day will reduce the cavity causing bacteria significantly over time and improve the odds for your baby.

3. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol as the first ingredient and preferably the only sweetener. Xylitol inhibits the acid producing capacity of cavity causing bacteria. That helps you. By doing this it also reduces survival of these bacteria, leading to fewer of these type bacteria in your saliva.

4. Stop sipping sodas and sweetened beverages between meals. Even the diet drinks which don't have sugar to feed bacteria do have high acid levels and cavity causing bacteria thrive in an acid environment.

5. Don't rinse the toothpaste off after you brush. Just spit. Giving the fluoride in that residual toothpaste taste more time will make stronger enamel faster. If you have unfilled cavities it will also be more effective in those holes resisting the growth of the cavities.
Caretakers with clean mouths and good oral health practices pass on fewer detrimental bacteria to their babies.  Good oral health for your baby begins long before your baby has teeth.

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