Thursday, March 6, 2014
Spreading Decay to Others. Are You Guilty?
While everyone knows eating candy and other sweets can increase your likelihood of decay, many might not realize that decay is caused by bacteria that can be spread.
Decay is caused by bacteria that live in your mouth. The bacteria feed on the food debris that is ingested, and produce an acid, which then combines with the remaining food debris, and saliva to create a filmy substance known as plaque. It is this plaque that can cause cavities to form.
“No matter what you eat,” says Dr. Judith Ko from her Hemet, California cosmetic dental practice, “cavities can only form with the help of bacteria.”
And that bacteria can also be spread to others. “Most of the time by sharing food, utensils, or kissing,” adds Dr. Ko.
What can you do about it? Regular visits to your dentist are the first step to keeping bacteria in check. Another help is chewing sugar-free gum between meals, especially one with xylitol. Xylitol is well known to reduce decay in patients who use it on a regular basis. Drink plenty of water, especially water with fluoride.
Keep your smile and your family’s smile healthy and happy. This is one time when you don’t want to share.