The Top Myths About Cavities — And the Facts You Should Believe

woman holding big cupcake and big tooth

Whether or not you’ve been vigilant about your oral hygiene throughout the course of your life, you probably think you know a thing or two about cavities. But do you know the whole tooth, or is your cavity knowledge made up of sweet little lies? Keep reading to learn some of the most common myths and misconceptions about cavities.

Cavity Myth: Blame Sugar

Have you ever been told that sugar causes cavities? Usually, this sentence is said to discourage small children from grabbing another lollipop or chowing down exclusively on candy bars. However, over the years, it’s become a commonly cited piece of (incorrect) dental trivia, to the point where many people believe that sugar is the only cause of cavities, that avoiding sugar prevents cavities, or that a sugar-free diet can reverse cavity progression if it’s happening already. Unfortunately, what’s really going on is…

The Real Tooth: It’s Complicated

That sugary snack isn’t great for your teeth — but neither is that slice of pizza if you neglect your oral health. The concept of “sugar” causing cavities is actually a simplification of what happens when existing bacteria in your mouth react with the chemicals created as you chew and break down your food. Foods like bread, fruit, and potatoes all metabolize into sugar, which produces acid when it comes into contact with the bacteria in your mouth. Left long-term to sit on the surface of your teeth, this acid eats away at your pearly whites. That’s why it’s so important to brush, floss, and rinse at least twice a day and why skipping out on “sugary” products won’t prevent cavities.

Cavity Myth: Cavities Are a Harmless Childhood Problem

Many people assume that the majority of cavities happen to children. While children can and do get cavities on both baby and adult teeth, it’s a myth that cavities are a childhood health problem. Based on multiple studies, the American Dental Association has estimated that 90% of American adults will have a cavity at some point — or do right now.

The Real Tooth: Cavities Can Happen to Anyone — And Can Harm Kids

Some individuals are more prone to tooth decay than others, but no one is immune to getting a cavity if they don’t take proper care of their teeth.

Not only can cavities happen to anyone, but they’re not something to ignore when it comes to children. While it’s easy to assume that losing baby teeth will cause the end of cavities, if children aren’t taught proper dental hygiene, they’ll end up causing real damage to their adult teeth later down the line. Plus, some alarming studies indicate that cavities in baby teeth can cause long-term gum and tissue damage, even after adult teeth have grown in to replace them.

Cavity Myth: You’ll Always Know

As long as you keep making sure you don’t have a toothache or a weird brown spot on your teeth, you’re cavity-free — right? Many people assume that cavities are always visible or cause a painful sensation. This can mean they skip going to the dentist, which in turn worsens the problem.

The Real Tooth: Cavities Can Go Unnoticed

Cavities can be minuscule, painless, and virtually invisible to everything but the most technologically advanced X-ray machine. That means that at any time, you could be dealing with a cavity and have no idea. This is why it’s so important to schedule regular dental checkups for your oral health, even if you don’t think anything is wrong.

Cavity Myth: Fillings Can’t Decay

Do you have a filled tooth? Many people who have dealt with cavities before have had the cavity filled to stop the decaying process. And since you now have a filled cavity, you no longer have to worry about that tooth…or do you?

The Real Tooth: Stay Vigilant

A filled tooth can still decay, even if it ends up decaying at a slower rate than non-filled teeth. In addition, filled teeth can be especially vulnerable to decay around the edges, where the filling meets your existing tooth or gum line. In just a few years, this can cause you to need a root canal or other more involved procedure. (Want to know more about root canals? Also, check out “Are Root Canals Necessary?” to get more information about this important procedure).

Cavity Myth: You Can Ignore Your Cavities

Let’s face it: sometimes, it’s easier to put up with something you view as unsightly but harmless rather than go through a potentially time-consuming or uncomfortable dental procedure. Some people assume that cavities are unsightly but don’t have any long-term consequences for health. After all, you can always get dental implants, right?

The Real Tooth: Oral Health Is Whole-Body Health

Taking care of your teeth is part of taking care of your whole body, and you shouldn’t neglect your smile. Gum disease has been strongly linked to heart disease in many different medical studies, and the bad habits that can lead to cavities also cause other oral health problems. Take care of your oral health, and you’ll stay happier and healthier.

Visit Bloom Dental of Arlington!

How did you do on checking up on your cavity knowledge? Is it full of holes, or did you know the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth? We hope you take some of these facts to heart as you continue to look after your pearly whites.

Dealing with a dental emergency? Read through this quick piece on what to do if your crown fell off a decaying tooth or come in right away, and Bloom Dental of Arlington will help you smile again! We pride ourselves on redefining the industry as we strive to provide the best of the best in dental care, all performed in our state-of-the-art, comfortable offices. To schedule a dental checkup or speak with a professional in oral health, contact us today. 

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