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You can “catch” a cavity from kissing? I never would’ve guessed!

As if it wasn’t enough to take care of your own mouth, now researchers are saying you can get a cavity while kissing!

Colds, the flu and strep throat are all contagious. You hear someone cough or sneeze you can move a little bit further away to avoid their germs. Bet you never worried if your date was going to give you a cavity before smooching them at the end of the night?

But the truth is you can catch a cavity just like you catch a cold. Here’s what you need to know:

• Cavities are caused by bacteria that stick to teeth and feast on food particles and produce acid that causes tooth decay,

• Our saliva maintains a happy balance of good and bad bacteria, but some strains can become more plentiful and harmful over time for different reasons—like when you eat a high sugar diet, which changes the pH of the mouth and gives the bacteria extra fuel.

• The main types of bacteria that cause cavities are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus

• Cavities are typically passed through mouth-to-mouth contact when there is an exchange of saliva. Your everyday peck isn’t really enough to do it, but an intense tongue-touching spit-swapping makeout sesh will.  Research backs this up, showing that oral bacteria is regularly transmitted between spouses.

• Cavity-causing bacteria most commonly travels from parents to kids—like when a mother tastes her child’s food first.  It’s even been found that kids in the same daycares carry the same strains of Streptococcus mutans.

• You can’t tell what bacteria someone has in their mouth just by looking at them. Dentists can’t even figure it out in a routine exam—they can only see whether you’ve got cavities or not.

Suggestions For Preventing A Cavity From Kissing

“To be on the safe side, cleansing your mouth with an antiseptic mouth rinse after intimate contact should lessen your susceptibility”, says  Emanuel Layliev, D.D.S., of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry.

Also, taking good care of your teeth in general, by brushing and flossing daily, will make it less likely for that bacteria to put down its anchors and wreck havoc on your teeth and gums.

Original article; by Amy Marturana, C.P.T., Self Magazine;


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