A TikTok video went viral after suggesting this common oral affliction is contagious.
TikTok medical advice is rampant. This can be good or bad. While the social media platform lends itself to a lot of misinformation, it’s also wide-reaching, featuring the advice of real doctors that manage to reach an expansive audiences.
A dentist’s recent video went viral, suggesting something that a lot of people weren’t ready to hear. Are cavities really contagious?
The clip, uploaded by Dr. Tasneem Mahmood, says you can get cavities by kissing people. “Thinking about the kiss I gave my husband even though he has cavities,” she captioned the video that shows her shakily sipping from a glass of water. “And that’s on cavities being contagious.”
@tasneemmahmoodd& that’s on cavities being contagious 🦠♬ presleywalker – PresleyWalker
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The video has been viewed over a million times, with people commenting their utter disbelief and shock that something like cavities can be easily spread. According to a dentist that spoke with The Guardian, cavities can be spread from kissing, but there must also be other elements present for the cavity to truly bloom in another person’s mouth. While the cavity bacteria can spread from mouth to mouth, the individual’s oral situation is also incredibly important.
“The second absolutely essential thing for tooth decay is frequent ingestion of what we call fermentable carbohydrates. So sucrose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup and bread for that matter,” he said.
So while kissing someone with cavities can make it more likely for you to get them yourself, it’s still possible to protect yourself by making some healthy lifestyle decisions. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and keeping tabs on the number of foods like chewy candies, cookies, crackers, pasta and bread (all of which easily get stuck in teeth) that you consume is a good place to start.
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It’s always important to know who you’re kissing, but asking about their cavity situation might be taking things a step too far. Also, a lot of diseases and bacteria are spread this way, so it’s likely for you to catch other things aside from cavities.
In short, don’t overthink it. Keep up with your dental hygiene and know that cavities are influenced by a variety of factors, from oral hygiene to each mouth’s individual pH levels.