It’s no secret that brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and visiting a dentist at least twice a year will result in clean and healthy teeth. A nutritious diet, fluoride rinse and dental sealants can also prevent tooth decay and cavities. But did you realize that there are many myths out there surrounding tooth decay?
Myth #1: The Primary Culprit of Cavities is Sugar
This statement is partially true since bacteria feeds on sugar. Technically, acid is the primary culprit of cavities. Bacteria produce acid, and bacteria feed on sugar and other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, bread, fruits and vegetables.
Once that bacteria has nestled itself in a secure little hole, safe from toothbrushes and floss, you have a cavity. Every time you eat carbs, the bacteria produce more acid, which burrows deeper inside your tooth.
Now, what’s worse: A large dose of carbs in the form of bread and chips at lunch or a large dose of carbs in the form of sugary drinks throughout the day? You’ve got it! The sugary drinks throughout the day are much worse. Why? The bacteria have a continual feast of carbohydrates, so they are constantly endangering tooth enamel by producing acid.
Myth #2: You’ll know for Sure if You Have a Cavity
Not necessarily. Our Dallas dentists will note that pain doesn’t start until the cavity reaches the nerve deep down in your tooth. By that point you may need an expensive root canal procedure performed by one of our Dallas cosmetic dentists to solve the problem. This is the very reason why your dentist wants to see you at least twice a year. Catching that cavity while it’s small and painless is definitely best!
Myth #3: Kids Tend to Get Cavities More Often than Adults
Actually, the opposite is true. With the help of tooth sealants, fluoridated water, and preventative pediatric dental care, incidents of tooth decay in school-aged children have drastically reduced.
While the number of cavities in children’s teeth has become less, the number of cavities in senior citizen’s teeth has actually grown. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the biggest is the fact that their medications often dry out the mouth, causing it to produce less saliva. Saliva is a key defense against tooth decay since it neutralizes acids, disinfects by washing away bacteria, and prevents food from sticking to your teeth.
Myth #4: Don’t Worry About Cavities in Baby Teeth
It’s true that your child will lose all those baby teeth as adult teeth replace them, but cavities in baby teeth can still cause serious pain and infection if they’re left untreated. When you first suspect a cavity, your child should be in the office right away to see a dentist.
Myth #5: Cavities can be caused by Clenching and Grinding Teeth
In a roundabout way this myth is true. The clenching and grinding themselves don’t cause cavities, but they do weaken tooth enamel. In severe cases clenching and grinding teeth cause fractures and cracks in the enamel. These holes then become prime real estate for bacteria and quickly develop into cavities. If you know or suspect that you clench or grind your teeth, let us know. Our dentists can offer solutions so that your teeth don’t become compromised.
Remember, the keys to good tooth care are no secret: brush your teeth regularly, floss regularly, eat a balanced diet, and see a dentist regularly!