The truth is that tooth decay, the cause of cavities, affects over 90% of adults in the United States, and is the most common chronic issue among children. And yet, many people, even those who have had to treat a cavity, are misinformed as to why the cavity developed in the first place, or how they can prevent it from happening again. Though tooth decay and cavities are highly preventable, it takes accurate information (along with excellent hygiene and routine dental care) to keep your teeth cavity-free for life.
Cavity Myths and Truths
Myth: Cavity is the result of eating too much sugar.
The Truth: Sugar is a contributing factor to cavity development, but isn’t the main cause of it. Along with other types of carbohydrates, sugar feeds certain oral bacteria found in plaque (mainly, Streptococcus mutans). The bacteria convert the carbs into acid, which slowly erodes the enamel around your teeth and leaves them vulnerable to bacterial infection (tooth decay).
Myth: Cavities are more likely to affect children than adults.
The Truth: Though it’s true that children may be less likely to stick to a diligent hygiene routine, which in turn could lead to tooth decay faster, they are not specifically more prone to developing cavities. The bacteria that erode enamel and that infect a tooth’s structure inhabit everyone’s mouth, and without proper care and maintenance, nearly anyone can develop a cavity.
Myth: Metal tooth fillings are the most effective restoration for cavities.
The Truth: Metal amalgam fillings are strong, but they are not the most effective material for filling a cavity. Tooth-colored fillings made from composite resin have several advantages over metal amalgam, including;
- Resin can bond to your tooth’s structure for a tighter, better seal.
- It can also be tinted to match your tooth’s color, unlike metal.
- Composite resin helps hold your compromised tooth structure together.
- Resin is biocompatible, meaning it doesn’t negatively affect your natural tooth structure.