Knowing a potential significant other’s sexually transmitted disease status is mandatory these days. But is there even more to be concerned about?
It seems as though before you even kiss goodnight, you may want to check your date’s dental records. Studies show that cavities and gum disease are contagious—and can be transmitted through swapping spit, just like colds and flu. In fact, some experts estimate that up to 500 different germs can be transmitted in a single kiss.
Saliva and the mouth are full of viruses and bacteria, including some that cause cavities and gum disease. Kissing a partner who is actively infected with gum disease or cavity-causing bacteria can cause a person who previously had a low concentration of these bacteria to ‘catch’ problems, due to the extra dose of bacteria from kissing—particularly if that person has poor oral habits that set the stage for tooth decay.
The bacteria that inhabit the periodontal pockets are also present on the oral soft tissues, teeth, tongue and saliva. They can be transferred from one person to another through saliva, intimate kissing, sharing of food, utensils, or toothbrushes, and can result in exposure to saliva that contain the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
Based on these findings and the fact that periodontal disease has a genetic component, it is recommended that if one family member has periodontitis, all family members see a dental care professional or periodontist for a periodontal screening. Parents need to know that gum disease and halitosis are not just adult health problems and that children can also be affected.
For more ways to protect your dental health, visit BlackDoctor.org.
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