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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.

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When you have a cavity, your dentist will remove the decay and repair the remaining tooth structure. Typically, a dental filling is the choice for restoring your smile. Your dentist has two options: an amalgam or composite filling. Learn more about filling basics so that you can make an informed decision about your oral health.

Amalgam Fillings
Metal fillings have been used for years to fix a tooth with that has a cavity. Less expensive than the composite fillings, amalgams offer durability, especially for back teeth. Mercury is a component of amalgam fillings, however, and questions have arisen about whether these fillings can contribute to mercury overexposure. Amalgam fillings also tend to look dark or gray with time, which can detract from your smile’s appearance. Wear and tear can cause amalgams to crack or leak, producing new decay in and around the damaged filling.

Composite Fillings
Initially, composite fillings were used for individuals who worried about the impact of metal fillings on their white smiles. Because the mercury in amalgam fillings has come under fire for contributing to potential health issues, many dentists have begun using only composite fillings. In fact, all-white fillings are becoming the standard in dental care.

Created to match your natural tooth coloring, composite fillings provide additional benefits as well. These restorations allow your dentist to perform a more conservative repair and leave more healthy tooth structure in place. Because all-white fillings bond to the tooth, they won’t change shape or leak over time. Many people have started replacing amalgam fillings with composite alternatives.

Cosmetic Dentist Weymouth MA


People mistakenly think of heart disease as a man’s disease, but it does affect many women. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. New research from the University of California, Berkeley has given woman another reason to keep regular dental visits on their calendars.

A study released in October indicates that women who get regular dental care can reduce their risks for strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems by one-third. Using data from people ages 44-88 enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study, researchers looked at information regarding nearly 7,000 people from ages 44 to 88. The results did not suggest the same benefits for men.

Data in this study was collected every two years from 1996 to 2004. Over this time, the individuals involved were asked about dental visits as well as whether they had dealt with heart attack, angina, stroke, or congestive heart failure during the prior two years. Any deaths from these cardiovascular problems were also recorded. With this study, researchers were able to show the benefit of routine dental care to a woman’s heart health. As well, the study authors indicated that dental care has the biggest impact if it begins early in the development of cardiovascular disease.

To promote optimal oral health, you should:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss regularly
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Keep dentures clean
  • Schedule checkups every six months

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