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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Can people with poor oral hygiene pass bacteria to others while sharing utensils?

Answered by
Dr. Honey Arora


Practicing since :2011

Answered : 13885 Questions

Posted on Fri, 12 Oct 2018 in Dental Health
Question: Hi Doctor,
My daughter is 2 years old and went to the dentist twice. The first time she went at 18 months she got a cleaning. She unfortunately picked up the herpes virus from another kid in December and her gums were extremely red, swollen an inflamed. Needless to say I immediately pulled her out of that daycare and gave them hell for not washing/sanitizing the toys after children mouth them. She recovered well but since then I have noticed that she has started to rub/hold her tongue and will often put her hand in her mouth/chew on her finger and hold her bottom left canine. She will say "teeth" or "tongue". I took her to the dentist and they said her teeth look ok and her gums look fine. I brush everyday (at least try to) but she is still on a bottle, which I am trying to wean her off of at the moment. I make every effort to brush after she has a bottle. My concern in that she has a bacterial infection in the mouth. My ex husband had HORRIBLE HORRIBLE oral hygene, would not brush, had tarter and plaque buildup and terrible breath (one of the reasons why we broke up, as I was so disgusted by his poor hygiene practices). I did not know that sharing utensils and blowing on food could pass on dangerous bacteria like s mutans and others. Although we didn't share utensils etc all the time, there were many instances where she ate from us. Does this mean that she will definitely get the bacteria if she shared with someone who had it? Does terrible oral hygiene always mean very high bacterial load? Could the tooth/gum rubbing be an indication of a bacterial infection (even though her teeth and gums look healthy? I am freaking out.
Answered by Dr. Honey Arora 25 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Get an X-ray done.

Detailed Answer:


Thanks for the query.

Well if your daughter is always rubbing over the same area then it can be probably due to sensitive gum/tooth.

Here are answers to your questions:

-If she might have too much bacterial load in mouth then it would have represented in the form of cavities in teeth, gum infection etc.

-Yes, poor oral hygiene can increase bacterial load in mouth causing increasing frequency of cavities and gum infections..

-Eating in same plate can increase bacterial count but if there is any severe active infection then it can get transmitted.
Not commonly with poor oral hygiene.

-Rubbing gum is not always necessarily infection and needs an X-ray to confirm if it is infection.

Also a couple of questions.

Can you please ask her and tell that is she having any pain?

Is she always rubbing the same area?

You should once get an X-ray done and upload it to me so that I can have a better idea.

Also you need not to brush after every feed.

It can also make her gum or tooth sensitive.

You can simply use a clean wet cloth to wipe her teeth.

Hope I have answered your query.

Dr. Honey Arora, Dentist

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T

The User accepted the expert's answer

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