Cavities Are Contagious -- No More Spoon Sharing!


toddler feeding dad forkThis is the freakiest kids health news I've heard in a long, long time. Did you know you could be transmitting cavities -- yes, those teeth-destroying things -- into your poor, innocent little child's mouth? It's true! Every time you test the food on her spoon to see if it's too hot. Every time you take a bite to show him how yummy dinner is. Every time you let your kid give you a little taste of her tiny fork because it's so funny and cute.

Yeah, every time you do any of these things, you could be serving as a total cavity transmitter!

I love to put the kibosh on paranoid health news. After all, don't we, as parents, have enough to worry about without being told that every little thing we do is, well, wrong and dangerous! Of course, every now and then, a little piece of this kids health news breaks through my paranoia-reducing deflector shields and promptly scares the crap out of me!

Today, I find it absolutely horrifying to discover that cavities can be transmitted from one person to another. According to a claim published in the NYT, it's true. Cavities are caused, for the most part, by bacteria that cling to the teeth and that cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from one person to another -- babies and kids being most susceptible. Ack! They're totally contagious, and now I am totally paranoid!

Of course, frequent flossing and brushing and chewing sugar-free gum can reduce the risk -- BUT STILL!

How horrifying is this news or did you already know this? Will you stop sharing spoons and forks with your kids now?


Image via edenpictures/Flickr

toddler health, solid food, baby health


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minne... minnesotanice

I suppose it could be true. But I never share a spoon anyway and I don't taste food while I am cooking and I don't let someone taste what I am eating with the same spoon or fork. That is the surest way to spread germs.  It makes sense. BActeria causes dental decay. And gum why couldn't it be spread from person to person?

I have always thought that tasting fod while you are cooking for the family or guests was really gross and thoughtless.You put your germs into the food.That is just wrong.

butte... butterflymkm

Chefs test food all the time. As long as you take a clean spoon, test the food, and then put the spoon in the dishwasher or sink and don't reuse it you won't contaminate the food

popta... poptart0325

I already knew you could pass cavity causing bacteria to someone else. My dentist told me that at my last cleaning. I was very surprised but I mean, it makes sense.

Christeen Conrad

Yep, knew this for years now. My sister went 27 years without a single cavity until she met her SO. Hers got so bad had to get teeth pulled.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Yup, knew this! This was one of my main reasons why moms shouldn't pop a pacifier in their mouth to "clean" it (which, um, ew anyway).

Lynette Lynette

Yes I have read about this before on, here is a link to that article.  Here is a quote...

A bacteria (present in plaque) called strep mutans is the cause of tooth decay. These bacteria use food sugars to produce acid - this acid directly causes the decay. Strep mutans thrives in a combination of sugars, low amounts of saliva and a low ph-level in the saliva. A portion of the population (around 20%) is thought to have increased levels of this high acid producing bacteria, putting them at higher risk for developing dental decay. After your baby gets teeth, he can get this bacteria through saliva to saliva contact from mother (or other caregiver) to baby. To help prevent transfer of this bacteria to baby, avoid any saliva to saliva contact such as sharing spoons & cups, wet kisses on the mouth, chewing food for baby, or putting baby's pacifier in your mouth. On the other hand, one study indicates that children of moms with high levels of strep mutans may actually have some protection (immunization) from decay through frequent saliva to saliva contact in the months before baby's teeth erupt.

Sarah Outlaw

I don't have any cavities...never have so we are safe. My husband's never had one either.

nonmember avatar Casey

I have heard this before. My dentist told me this as well. I don't share drinks or spoons with my little one. I am horrified when my inlaws try to do it :o

Memph... MemphisSuzi

You are passing bacteria (not cavities themselves)-- which makes perfect sense.  And saying you have never had cavities so you are safe is ridiculous...your mouth contains bacteria and you have no idea how this will effect your childs teeth - all teeth are not created equal.  Some are softer (more prone to cavities) others are harder -- hopefully you passed on your genetic hard teeth but you never know.  That being said -- who cares??  Brush your teeth after meals or at least rinse and you will be fine. 

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