Yes, cavities are not just a personal problem.
You might think of all bacteria as being harmful. However, many are beneficial or simply benign (causing neither harm nor benefit). And, in fact, out of all the bacteria in the human mouth, only a select few strains are known to cause cavities.
Furthermore, these troublesome strains can run in families and transfer from one individual to another. That’s why it’s essential to understand the mechanism of transfer and minimize the conditions whenever possible.
Most importantly, keep your saliva to yourself.
It may sound like common sense that goes without saying, but we’ll repeat it, just to be sure! Your saliva is personal and may have different strains of bacteria than those around you. So let’s keep it that way! Never share utensils, straws, or drinking glasses, and avoid double dipping with chips, vegetable trays, or other snacks. Absolutely under no circumstances should you share your toothbrush or use someone else’s. It’s better to skip brushing altogether than to use another’s toothbrush.
Finally, we need to talk about… kissing! We don’t expect you to abandon kissing your significant other altogether, of course. However, there are things you can do to avoid spreading oral bacteria to other family members. When kissing your children, go for the cheek rather than the lips to prevent saliva transfer. This method is especially important with small children and toddlers. While they are very good at giving sloppy kisses, they are often covered in their saliva, so it’s best for both your mouths to reduce the exposure.