Is Tooth Decay Contagious?

tooth decay prevention Staten Island

This message from Staten Island Dental Care focuses on dental health.

Your mouth has a thriving community of bacteria. There are from 200-300 types, but relatively few cause tooth decay.

Bacteria that cause decay are in the mutans streptococcus family. The bacteria mix with sugar. This mixture creates a powerful acid. The acid reduces the calcium in tooth enamel. When the bacteria persists on teeth, it creates a yellowish substance called plaque. Plaque is brutally effective at drilling into tooth enamel and causing cavities. Minerals in saliva and fluoride help enamel re-mineralize.

Special Caution for Parents

The tooth decay bacteria can spread through saliva. People in close contact with one another are at risk. Sharing spoons or kissing are two avenues. Mothers, fathers, siblings, and caregivers can the bacteria to babies. Young children whose teeth are forming are at a heightened risk of decay. It’s important that parents protect their children from early tooth decay. Start teaching daily oral hygiene as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. Childhood tooth decay is so prevalent that some parents believe it’s just part of growing up. But it doesn’t have to be!

Daily oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and fluoride protect young teeth. You can get fluoride from toothpaste, fluoridated water, fluoride rinses, fluoride gels, and fluoride supplements. Ask us which one is best.

The Role of Fluoride in Cavity Prevention

If the teeth are continuously assaulted with food and liquids (especially acidic or sugary types), the enamel never has a chance to re-harden. The combination forms the dangerous acid. Acid and plaque compromises the enamel and may cause a white spot. This is a sign of mineral loss. It’s the first step in the formation of a cavity. At this point, you can reverse the mineral loss.

Fluoride does three vital things:

  1. It replaces minerals
  2. It prevents more mineral loss
  3. It decreases acid-causing bacteria

Remember that if you get too much fluoride, it can stain teeth. Your dentist can advise you on the correct amount. Also, most bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride. Keep that in mind if you and your family only drink bottled water.

At Staten Island Dental Care, the dental health of our patients is our top priority every single day. Services include dental implants. Make an appointment with us today.

Contact Staten Island Dental Care – Dr. Frederick Hecht:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1520 Richmond Ave
Staten Island, New York


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