Lately we have seen an increase in cavities in young people who are high school and college-aged. Kids who have had one or two cavities in their entire lives are coming in with five, six, seven, maybe eight cavities. The kids are surprised and their parents, who are footing the bill, are demanding answers.
One thing I have noticed is that some of these young people are gaining weight. This makes me think they are increasing their carb intake. Carbs break down into sugars and contribute to tooth decay. Two other things that young people start experimenting with at that age are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Alcohol is loaded with carbs and dehydrates the mouth. Smoking changes the microbiome of the mouth and also dehydrates it. Both of these things can contribute to more cavities.
Finally and most interesting to me is this from the The New York Times, “just as a cold virus can be passed from one person to the next, so can these cavity-causing bacteria. One of the most common is Streptococcus mutans . . . In one instance, a patient in her 40s who had never had a cavity suddenly developed two cavities and was starting to get some gum disease,’ . . . the woman had started dating a man who hadn’t been to a dentist in 18 years and had gum disease” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/29/health/29really.html.
So yes, you can catch cavities. While the woman in the article above was in her 40’s young people do tend to kiss new people and might just be catching cavities from them.
If you or someone in your family is having problems with gum disease or tooth decay we can help you with that. Give us a call.