Tooth Cavities: Separating Fact From Fiction

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As one of the most common oral health concerns, there is great confusion surrounding the topic of tooth cavities. What causes cavities? Are some people just more prone to this problem than others? The answers to these questions may surprise you! 

So, what is a cavity? A cavity is a form of tooth decay. The bacteria that is found in the mouth is highly acidic and interacts with plaque to eat away at your tooth’s enamel. Over time, this results in a hole in your tooth that will continue to grow deeper if you don’t receive professional care.

While cavities in their early stages are invisible to the untrained eye, they will begin to cause a toothache or pain once reaching the inside of the tooth. Fortunately, cavities are easily treatable through a process called a dental filling. Now that we know more about what a cavity really is, let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about tooth cavities.

Myth: Only Kids Get Cavities

A cavity is often the first type of oral health problem a child experiences. Because of this, many people are under the impression that only kids get cavities. However, this is simply a myth! 

Patients of every age are susceptible to tooth cavities. In fact, due to advancements in dentistry over the past 20 years, children are now at a lower risk for developing cavities than their older family members. 

Myth: Sugar is The Only Thing That Causes Cavities

This is where things get tricky. While this is mostly a myth, there is some truth behind it! The primary culprit in causing cavities is bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is responsible for the production of the destructive acid that begins to eat through the enamel of your teeth. 

Where does this bacteria come from? The primary food groups that cause cavities are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugars and are exist in a variety of foods including bread, rice, potatoes, and more.

So while that sugary treat certainly doesn’t do your teeth any favors, it is not the only thing that increases your chances of developing a cavity.

Myth: There is No True Way to Prevent Cavities

Unfortunately, some people are more prone to cavities than others. Some individuals are more prone to developing cavity-causing bacteria than others. Others simply have gaps in their smiles that provide more opportunities for decay. However, even for individuals with these pre-existing conditions, there are always ways to prevent cavities!

Patients of every age can take steps towards preventing cavities by brushing their teeth thoroughly twice each day and flossing daily. However, the most effective way to prevent cavities is to visit your dentist for bi-annual dental cleanings and exams.

As we discussed previously, cavities are caused when the bacteria interacts with the plaque that accumulates on the surface of your teeth. While daily oral hygiene tasks keep this plaque at bay, the only true way to achieve a clean smile is through a professional dental cleaning! 

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