As we head into the cooler months, it’s normal to think about reducing the likelihood of you or your family getting the common cold, the flu, or of course, COVID-19. But should you also be concerned with catching a cavity? Are cavities contagious like a cold? Thankfully, your dentist in Douglasville has some answers.
Good & Bad Bacteria
All of us have a variety of different types of bacteria in our mouths. Some of these bacteria are good and can help keep mouths healthy. But there are also some bad bacteria, particularly Streptococcus mutans and porphyromonas gingivalis, that can lead to decay and cavities. So what does this have to do with cavities being contagious? We’re glad you asked.
Sharing Sometimes Isn’t Caring
Even though we all have bacteria in our mouths, we don’t necessarily all have the same types of bacteria. So when you come in contact with a new strain of bacteria, it can cause problems, and it’s most likely there to stay. What’s more, if you swap bacteria with someone and the person happens to have those bad bacteria, and you don’t, they can make their way into your mouth and create cavities. Some of the top ways you can transfer bacteria between people are:
- Sharing utensils
- Sharing a straw
- Biting off the same piece of food
- Using someone else’s toothbrush
The Concern With Kids
Kids are at increased risk for developing cavities through shared saliva. Kids don’t have as many types of bacteria in their mouths and their immune systems tend to be weaker than adults’, meaning that any new bacteria that enters their system can make them more likely to get a cavity or two. In fact, the transmission of bad bacteria is most common between parents and kids.
Protect Yourself, Protect Others
Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to know if you’re transmitting bad bacteria to someone else or if they may be transmitting them to you. However, you can do your part to reduce the risk.
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly
- Don’t share forks, spoons, straws, or toothbrushes
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated
- See your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year
Regular dental checkups can not only help protect your teeth from developing cavities, but they can also help catch any other problems early. If it’s longer than six months since your last dental visit or dental cleaning, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today.
Dental insurance can be an amazing tool, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to use it. If you don’t get in to see your dentist in Douglasville before your benefits expire, you could miss out on potentially life-changing treatment. While each policy will be different, it’s worth checking your specific insurance to see whether your benefits expire at the end of the year. If so, schedule an appointment with your dentist before December!
One of the most important parts of dental insurance is making sure you know your yearly maximums. A maximum is the total amount of dental benefits insurance plans offer each year. Typically, these range from about $1,000 to $1,500 a year. As always with insurance, there are probably some limitations as to what services you can use that money for. But either way, if you don’t use the maximum amount allowed to you as part of your plan, you will lose it when your benefits expire.
Another aspect of many dental insurances is a deductible. If your plan has a deductible, it means you must pay for a certain dollar amount of treatment before your insurance kicks in. Some patients end up paying their deductible and never take advantage of the dental benefits. Essentially, this is money lost.
One of the more confusing parts about dental insurance is what treatments are covered and how much of each treatment is covered by insurance. Sometimes insurance covers preventive care at 100% and portions of some additional services such as cosmetic dentistry. This is where your dentist in Douglasville can help you maximize your insurance benefits for the care you need and want
Prevention is Best
You’ve probably heard that prevention is the best medicine. We agree, especially when it comes to dental care. The best way to maximize your dental benefits is to see your dentist regularly and at least every six months for preventive care. Many dental problems can sneak up on us and may not even have any symptoms until the problem is serious (and sometimes costly). However, preventive dental appointments can help catch potential problems early when treatment is often easier — on your and your wallet.
We understand that dental insurance can be confusing. After all, they’re all different. But they do all have one thing in common — the benefits expire. Don’t let your hard-earned dental benefits go to waste. Call to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today.