We’ve all been there before. You’re in the midst of a fun party — the music sounds great, the conversation is flowing, and you’re having a fantastic time. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see it. Wait, did Paul just double dip in the salsa?

Once your mild disgust passes, you continue on with the party — carefully avoiding the bowls Paul eats out of. But did you know that double dipping could actually have a profound effect on the rest of your body? You read right: double dipping can be bad for your overall health.

According to a recent study, scientists found that a cracker, once bitten, contains 1,000 more bacteria than a fresh one. The scientists used the bitten cracker and dipped them in chunky salsa, chocolate dip and cheese dip. The salsa contained an astonishing 5,000 bacteria per teaspoon, while the chocolate and cheese dips had about 750-1,000 bacteria per teaspoon. Now, imagine 5,000 bacteria for every person and cracker double dipped in the community bowls. Yuck!

Oral microbiome can include viruses that make people sick, like colds, flus, mumps, rabies and herpes. It also makes the spread of Candida (yeast infections) of the mouth more possible.

Did you know that gum disease itself is contagious, too? Sharing saliva with someone that has gingivitis or periodontitis through kissing, sharing cups and silverware and — yes — double dipping increases your risk for contracting the disease. You can even share the disease with your kids.

But gum disease is super common, right? What’s the big deal? The big deal is that gum disease has been linked to serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and more. More scientific research is needed to determine if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the systemic diseases and gum disease inflammation. It is clear by any measure, however, that gum disease isn’t helping the situation with any of these systemic conditions. There is a relationship between the gum disease and these diseases, even if it’s limited to the fact that people who have gum disease might have an unhealthy lifestyle that contributes to these conditions.

Now that you know double dipping can be bad for your overall health, you can alter your eating habits in shared food environments, or even call your friends out on their own rude dipping methods to prevent more exposure to gum disease.

The good news is even if you do have gum disease — from double dipping or otherwise — you have options to treat and reverse it. The LANAP protocol is a less-invasive laser-based treatment option FDA cleared to regenerate new bone, new ligament and new cementum – replacing the oral tissues lost to advanced gum disease. LANAP patients report less pain and discomfort post surgery, with less recession of the gums. Visit LANAP.com to learn more about LANAP treatment as an option to remedy your gum disease.