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Research: Cavities are contagious

from The New York Times

Everyone knows you can catch a cold or the flu. But can you catch a cavity? Researchers have found that not only is it possible, but it occurs all the time. While candy and sugar get all the blame, cavities are caused primarily by bacteria that cling to teeth and feast on particles of food from your last meal. One of the byproducts they create is acid, which destroys teeth. 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. 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, said Dr. Margaret Mitchell, a cosmetic dentist in Chicago. more


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