Debunked: Cavity Edition

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Last month I headed into the dentist for my routine cleaning and exam. I was confident, happy, and had my head held high. I brush my teeth religiously the minute I get out of bed each morning and it’s the last thing I do before I get into bed each night. Not to brag, but I take pretty good care of my teeth. So imagine my surprise when the hygienist tells me I may have a cavity and she needs the dentist to look at it when she comes in to do my exam. My heart sank. I thought I heard her wrong. How could I possibly have a cavity? That doesn’t make any sense. To fast forward through all of my crazy thoughts that were taking over space in my brain, it turns out that I did not have any cavities, but the whole experience got me thinking. I had just assumed healthy oral hygiene would equal no problems. Right? Wrong apparently. I did some research after this appointment and I would like to debunk some myths I’ve learned about cavities.

  1. Cavities are a childhood problem. This is probably one of the biggest myths surrounding cavities. When adults think of cavities, they think it’s a problem that happens in childhood and that they’ve left that risk behind as they entered adulthood. I’m guilty of this as well. I can remember for a big part of my childhood my parents warning me that if I continue eating junk food I’ll get cavities. And now I’m guilty of threatening my daughter with the same thing. While that all may be true, the risk of getting a cavity in adulthood is still very much possible. There’s actually been an increase in adults getting cavities, especially the senior citizen population. That’s largely due to the different medications they have to take which come with side effects that include dry mouth which is a cause of tooth decay.


  1. Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay. Many people believe that if they avoid the sweet, sugary treats, foods, and drinks that they will be in the clear of getting cavities. Unfortunately, this is also a big fat myth. Tooth decay can be caused by many factors including carbohydrates – think rice, potatoes, bread, fruit, and even vegetables! The bacteria and acids from these foods attack your teeth and cause tooth decay. Should you avoid all of these foods forever? Of course not! Like many other things in life, it’s all about moderation.


  1. If you have a cavity, you’ll know it. If your tooth decay is advanced, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll know it and feel it. But when your tooth is at the beginning stages of decay, it will be hard for you to detect. There’s a good chance that you’ll have no symptoms at all in fact. This is why it’s so important to go to your regular cleanings and exams, even when your teeth feel “fine”.


  1. Baby teeth aren’t important. It’s a common thought to think that since baby teeth end up falling out anyways that they’re not really that important. Wrong! The health of your child’s baby teeth can absolutely have an effect on their adult teeth. If their baby teeth start to decay, it can cause them great pain and a lot of tears (both from you and them). It’s so important to take good care of their baby teeth. It’s hard enough as older children and adults to have to deal with a cavity, but for a baby who can’t talk or doesn’t understand why they’re in pain? Especially over something that could have been prevented with good oral hygiene practices.


  1. Gaps in teeth will cause cavities. I can see why many people would believe this, but this is yet another myth. In reality, the gaps actually make it easier to brush, floss, and clean your teeth. The spaces in between the teeth also make it harder for bad bacteria to reside at so that makes it less likely for you to develop cavities.


Understanding the causes and myths of cavities will help you to prevent from getting them in the future. Remember to brush twice a day, rinse with antibacterial mouth wash, and to floss daily. Call us at Charmoy Dental Associates {973.584.0008} today to set up your next cleaning and exam appointment!