Cavity prevention is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth.
When bacteria flourishes in your mouth, tooth decay becomes an issue that can cause a wide variety of dental problems. There’s a lot of misinformation about what causes cavities and how they’re prevented. Explore five of the most common myths and the truth about them below.
Myth #1: Cavities are only caused by sugar.
The facts: Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which is the result of plaque build up in your mouth. When you eat and drink, sugars are left behind on your teeth. Bacteria feed on those sugars and produce acid that builds up on teeth and weakens the enamel coating. When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens and erodes tiny holes into your teeth, where bacteria hide and thrive.
Myth #2: Kids get more cavities than adults.
The facts: Since the addition of fluoride to tap water, the number of children with tooth decay has dramatically decreased- by almost half. Fluoride has radically improved cavity prevention by strengthening teeth from a young age. Senior citizens have experienced an increased in cases of cavities and tooth decay. This is because of medications that reduce saliva, leaving teeth unprotected and vulnerable to decay-causing bacteria.
Myth #3: If your teeth are sensitive, you have tooth decay.
The Facts: Sensitivity to temperature (hot or cold foods and drink) and sugar can both be caused by tooth decay. While other factors can cause the same types of sensitivity, so pain when eating or drinking is not necessarily a sign of tooth decay or cavities. Visiting your dentist at the first sign of sensitivity is part of a good strategy for cavity prevention.
Myth #4: Treating the cavity stops tooth decay.
The Facts: When a cavity is filled, the decay stops in that spot. That doesn’t mean decay can’t develop in other spots on the same tooth. If decay goes untreated, it can lead to more severe dental problems that may require a root canal or more serious surgery.
Myth #5: If you have a cavity, you’ll be able to tell.
The Facts: Sometimes, you’ll know you have a cavity. Usually by that time, though, the cavity is much larger (and more painful!) than it would’ve gotten if it was detected during a routine dental check up.