Common Myths about Tooth Decay
From the time we are young, our parents teach us to brush and floss our teeth so that we won’t get cavities. Most people believe certain “facts” about cavities and how they actually develop. Unfortunately, not everything we learn is true.
Take a few minutes to discover what’s true and what’s not about keeping your teeth healthy and strong:
Fact or Fiction: Sugar causes most cavities.
Reality: Actually, this statement is both fact and fiction. The acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is what causes cavities. Eating foods high in carbohydrates increases the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in greater acid production, which leads to a greater chance of tooth decay.
Fact or Fiction: Kids get more cavities than adults.
Reality: In the last 20 years, thanks to fluoride and better preventive care, tooth decay in school-aged children has decreased. On the other hand, senior citizens have seen a rise in the incidents of cavities, possibly because of changes in their mouths that come with aging, including dry mouth and issues with gum health.
Fact or Fiction: You must replace old fillings.
Reality: Most restorations do have a life expectancy, but it depends on a variety of factors such as tooth wear, hygiene habits, and location. Plan to replace an old filling if the restoration breaks down, a cavity develops around the filling, or the tooth fractures.
Fact or Fiction: If I get a cavity, I will know it.
Reality: Because tooth decay starts out small, most people don’t realize they have a problem until the cavity gets bigger and causes damage to the nerve. Routine visits to the dentist enable your doctor to check your mouth and catch small cavities before they create larger oral health issues.