For some time, researchers have known that cavities and periodontal disease can run in families. The bacteria that cause both can be passed by kissing, sharing utensils, and other transferrable methods common in day-to-day life.
Dentists have known this for a long time because some families are more prone to certain conditions. At first, this could be explained away because habits usually run in families, as well, but more research shows that families actually do share microbes – both good and bad.
A University of Alabama study showed that 72 percent of kids shared microbes with kids that did not live in their own households.
What Does This Mean for Your Kids?
Essentially, bacteria based oral health conditions such as cavities and gum disease are actually contagious. This should come as no surprise since that is the way that many diseases spread.
What Can You Do About It?
Kids share germs. It's a fact of life. We can, however, help you protect their smile. The best way to keep your child smile healthy is to follow basic recommendations for their dental care.
Brush thoroughly twice daily – kids will need help with this until they are about nine years old, longer if they have not yet developed adequate dexterity.
Floss once daily – Flossing takes practice. You may wish to demonstrate on yourself and help your child learn the art of flossing.
Regular dental exams – Our preventive approach to dentistry is the best defense your child has against developing advanced dental conditions.
Fluoride treatments – Regular fluoride treatments can help to strengthen the enamel.
Dental sealants – Deep grooves in the teeth are a great place for bacteria to hide. Dental sealants create a barrier to protect your child’s most vulnerable areas.