Truths and Myths about Cavities
Cavities. What causes them? Can they be prevented? What’s the best treatment? Check out some well known truths (or should that be myths?), about cavities.
The main cause of cavities is sugar. Well, not quite. So we’ll call that a myth. The main cause of cavities is actually the acid which is produced in the mouth by bacteria. This bacteria is triggered into making acid whenever you eat carbohydrates; and guess what? Sugar is a carbohydrate.
Other common carbohydrates are potatoes, fruits, breads, rice, and vegetables. Nobody tells you to stop eating potatoes because they’re bad for your teeth, though, do they? Here’s why . . . it’s not the actual amount of carbs that you eat, but rather the length of time you expose your teeth to the carbs which causes the problem. Eating carbs for lunch is good. Sucking on hard candies for the entire day is not!
The problem with cavities is that once they are formed they keep on growing because the acid hides in the hole which is too small to reach with a brush or floss.
Kids get more cavities than grownups. Actually, that’s another myth. Tooth decay in school aged children has been cut by half over the last couple of decades, thanks to sealants, fluoride in the water, and extensive preventive care. Senior citizens are however, increasingly susceptible to cavities, which you might find quite surprising. It’s all about saliva. Saliva is a champion when it comes to the fight against tooth decay, as it washes away the bacteria and acts as a disinfectant. However, some medicines really dry the mouth and reduce the amount of saliva.
If you’ve got a toothache, hold an aspirin close to the tooth. Rubbish! Sorry . . . we mean myth! The only way that an aspirin can help to fight a toothache is by swallowing it.
Cavities often grow between the teeth. At last! That’s a FACT! Cavities are most likely to grow in the hard-to-reach places where bacteria can hide. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride, after brushing, for that little bit of extra protection.
After a tooth has been treated it stops the decay. Fact. If you have a cavity filled and brush, floss, and rinse properly, that should be the end of it. Of course, that doesn’t stop cavities from forming in other places, even on the same tooth.