1. Sugar Is the Prime Cause of Cavities
Myth and fact. In reality, it’s the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities. What the bacteria do is eat carbohydrates — and sugar is one of them. Rice, potatoes, bread, and fruits and vegetables also contain carbohydrates. When you eat one of these foods the bacteria become active and produce an acid which eats away at your tooth structure. This creates a nice home for the bacteria to continue the decay process away from the reach of your toothbrush, allowing the cavity to get bigger and bigger.
It is important to know that it is not the amount of carbohydrates you eat but the lenth of time you eat them that determines the amount of damage. If you drink a sugary drink all at once there is an half an hour of damage, if you sip it all day it is all day damage and much worse for your teeth.
2. Exposure to Acidic Foods Like Lemons Causes Tooth Decay
Fact. Acidic foods such as lemons, citrus juices, or soft drinks don’t cause cavities, but they maybe weakening the enamel. Enamel is your tooth’s protector and once weakened is more prone to decay.
3. Kids Are a Lot More Likely to Get Cavities Than Adults
Myth. With the help of sealants, fluoridated water, and preventative care decay in school-aged children has greatly decreased.
However, there’s been an increase in cavities in senior citizens. Some medications dry out the mouth, for example, reducing salvia. Saliva is vital in fighting tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids, has a disinfectant quality, washes away bacteria, and helps prevent food from sticking to your teeth. Less saliva can lead to more cavities.
4. Aspirin Placed Next to a Tooth Will Help a Toothache
Myth. Swallowing aspirin is what helps reduce toothache pain. Since aspirin is acidic, placing it beside the tooth can actually burn your gum tissue, causing an abscess. So, this is never recommended.
Myth. An amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it, or if the tooth fractures. If none of those problems occur, you can keep the same filling for life.
Fillings do have a life expectancy dependant upon tooth wear and hygiene habits. They will last longer if you brush, floss, use a fluoridated toothpaste, and have your regular check ups with our team at By the Sea Dentistry.
6. If You Have a Cavity, You’ll Know It
Myth. This is probably the biggest and worst myth of all. Mild tooth decay doesn’t cause symptoms. The pain we associate with cavities comes when tooth decay is more advanced and causes damage to the nerve. Which can lead to more expensive procedures such as root canals and crowns.
Also, once a cavity starts, it doesn’t repair itself. It will only get bigger with time.
7. Once a Tooth Is Treated, the Decaying Stops
Fact. You can get decay later on in other areas of the tooth, but the particular decay that was taken out is gone.
Once you get a cavity filled — and if you maintain good brushing and flossing techniques — you typically won’t get decay in that spot again.
Sometimes with age, a filling’s margins can begin to break down and pull away. At this point the filling needs to be replaced with another filling or a crown.
8. Cavities Are More Likely Between Teeth
Fact. Cavities are likely anywhere bacteria and food debris can hide. This is why flossing is so important.
9. Gaps in Teeth Encourage Cavities
Fact. If you have a small gap between your teeth and can’t clean it, you’re more likely to develop tooth decay there. On the other hand large gaps that are easy to clean are less prone to decay.
10. Chips and Cracks in Teeth Lead to Decay
Fact. If cracks and chips create a hiding place for bacteria, a spot where your toothbrush can’t reach, those areas are more prone to tooth decay. Cracks are often caused by grinding due to stress. These can be prevented with a nightguard. Contact us if you think you could be grinding.
11. Sensitivity in Teeth Means You Have Decay
Myth. Tooth sensitivity could just mean you have hypersensitive teeth, or gum recession has exposed some root surface. You could also have a cracked or broken tooth or could need a root canal . Many things can make a tooth sensitive including decay.
12. Cavities Are the Prime Reason for Root Canals
Myth. You need a root canal if the nerve inside a tooth is damaged. Untreated cavities may eventually lead to nerve damage, but there other causes, too. Cracks, fractures and trauma can also lead to root canals.
13. Clenching and Grinding Leads to Cavities
Myth and sometimes fact. Clenching and grinding is very destructive to your teeth. With normal chewing, teeth touch for mere milliseconds, suffering very little stress. But clenching and grinding puts tremendous pressure on your teeth for extended periods. That strain causes cracks and fractures in your teeth, leaving weaker dentin exposed to decay. Grinding and clenching can typically lead to trauma or fracture, which would need a root canal and crown to repair.
Myth. Baby teeth hold the space for permanent teeth. If cavities are left untreated in baby teeth, they can develop into serious pain and abscesses. Leaving an abcess untreated can cause a child to become very ill by spreading to other parts of the body.
15. Brushing and Flossing Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities
Fact. You need to remove bacteria from teeth by flossing and brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth you will not get cavities.