This week with Hartwell Dentistry we will be talking about bacteria in your mouth and how it can be transferred from one person to another.

Did you know that dental decay and gum disease can be shared by kissing?

There are up to 700 different types of bacteria that live in our mouth, most of them are good bacteria, but some of them can cause decay and gum disease.

Decay is a transmissible disease that can be spread from person to person through kissing, sharing cutlery and drink bottles by bacteria that form colonies on our teeth.

Bacteria known as Streptococcus Mutans are the main bacterial cause of tooth decay. This particular bacteria (in the right environment) breaks down the sugar that we eat and in this process produces acid. An oral environment high in acid can cause your enamel to weaken (demineralise) which leads to cavities (decay).

If a person has the right oral environment and this bacteria is introduced, it can cause the receiver to ‘catch’ decay. An environment that would be suitable for these bacteria to begin causing decay is one with poor oral hygiene, a high sugar diet and potentially a poor immune system.

While gum disease initially starts off from poor oral hygiene, the ‘bad’ bacteria that cause gum disease can also be transferred. There are several types of bacteria that can be present in people with gum disease that cause bone and tissue destruction. Again the environment needs to be right for the introduced bacteria to cause this destruction.

Although most parents have the habit of sucking on a dummy that has been dropped on the floor or using a spoon to taste before feeding their children, this is something that should be avoided, particularly if you are someone that has had decay or gum disease in the past. This is a prime example of introducing this decay causing bacteria to our otherwise unexposed and healthy kids mouth.

To decrease your chances of getting decay and gum disease, make sure  your oral hygiene is the best it can be, brushing two times daily for two minutes as well as cleaning in between the teeth daily, along with regular examinations and hygiene appointments at the dentist.

At Hartwell Dentistry, we are here to help! If you don’t want to transfer your dental disease to a loved one, contact us.

Thanks for reading, we look forward to seeing you again next time!