The easiest way to catch a cavity is when a mother is feeding a child. The mother will taste the food to check the temperature and then continue feeding the child. Immediately, that’s how kids get cavities.
According to the study by researchers at University of Louisville School of Dentistry, mothers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their babies when they clean pacifiers by sticking them in their own mouths or by sharing spoons.
Kissing between couples can also cause the spread of harmful bacteria. Dr Irwin Smigel has seen many patients, particularly women, who have clean, healthy mouths, discover a cavity or two after entering into a relationship with a man who has cavities, gum disease or hasn’t been to the dentist in several years.
One 40-year-old woman who had never had a cavity suddenly got two after she began dating a man who had periodontal disease and hadn’t been to a dentist in 18 years.
Infants and children are especially vulnerable to the bacteria. A 2007 study conducted at the University of Queensland’s School of Dentistry in Australia found that cavity-causing bacteria was found in the mouths of 30% of 3-month-old babies and more than 80% of 24-month-olds with primary teeth.
Mothers with dental disease present a very high risk to their children:
Are Cavities Really Contagious?
Just as a cold virus can be passed from one person to the next, so can cavity-causing bacteria. One of the most common is Streptococcus Mutans. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to it, and studies have shown that most pick it up from their caregivers — for example, when a mother tastes a child’s food to make sure it’s not too hot .