The Truth About Cavities

Many people think that sugar is the only thing that causes cavities, and although this isn’t too far from the truth, the reality is that acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the real cause.

Any carbohydrate you eat can start that process, including sugar as well as rice, potatoes, bread, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, acidic foods can break down your teeth’s outer shell (enamel), weaken the tooth, and make teeth more prone to decay. So, go light on the acid and practice good oral hygiene.

Related: How to Decide if Your Child Really Needs Braces.

Here are a few things you should know about cavities:

  • Cavities in children are less common: Thanks to fluoride in tap water, we’ve actually cut decay in school-aged children by half in the last 20 years. On the flip side, cavities in senior citizens are on the rise because of medicines that dry out the mouth. They reduce saliva, which protects your teeth.
  • Not all fillings need to be replaced: Fillings do have a life expectancy, but it depends on things like tooth wear and oral hygiene. If you keep up with your dental routine, you’re less likely to have problems, and your fillings may last longer.
  • Sometimes you will not feel a cavity: Sometimes you will know it, but at that point, it has usually spread to larger proportions than it would have if it had been found at a routine dental screening. With timely checkups, your dentist can find a cavity before it causes pain.
  • Once a tooth is treated the decay stops: Once you get a cavity filled, the decay spot is removed. And if you take care of your teeth, the decay from the spot that was filled will most likely stay clear.
  • Cavities are more common between teeth: Anywhere bacteria can hide that you can’t, or aren’t able to, reach with a toothbrush or floss is a likely place for decay. Use a mouthwash or floss to help reach tough spots.
  • You have to brush, floss and rinse to prevent cavities. Prevention is the key. That is the truth about cavities. You need to remove bacteria from teeth. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss and rinse daily. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth you won’t get cavities.

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