Everyone wants to enjoy a set of clean, straight and healthy teeth – but not everyone is the best at taking care of them. A mixture of highly processed foods and drinks as well as negligence over proper brushing and flossing techniques leads many people to end up developing cavities in their teeth.
Some misconceptions are relatively harmless and easily solved, others cause patients to adopt unhealthy behaviours or fail to address issues quickly enough.
The top myths around dental cavities are:
Too many sweets and soft drinks are the main cause of cavities
While high-sugar confectionery is definitely a contributing factor in the creation of cavities, sugars from any food can cause an acidic reaction with the bacteria in your mouth – causing cavities.
As per Dental Avenue’s video, regular brushing is essential for preventing cavities no matter what or how much you ate that day.
Even foods you thought were healthy like pasta, fruit and vegetables like potatoes have sugars in them that can decay your teeth if you neglect to brush. Always make sure you brush thoroughly for 2 minutes, 2 times a day. Get into every corner and make sure you hit each tooth from all angles.
Sugar-free drinks won’t cause cavities
Anything that causes an acidic reaction in your mouth is going to contribute to the decay of your tooth enamel and cause cavities to develop – this includes low or no sugar drinks.
While dentists acknowledge that a no-sugar soda is mildly healthier for your teeth than a traditional soda, it’s still recommended that you avoid daily consumption of these beverages and limit them to special occasions.
You only need to see a dentist when the cavities become painful
This is probably the most frustrating myth to deal with as it causes people to neglect their cavities until they become a much more severe issue. Once cavities become painful, it’s normally already too late for a simple filling.
The pain is caused by the nerve of the tooth becoming exposed, meaning that a much more expensive root canal is going to be more likely as the recommended treatment. This is why you should not ignore regular dental check-ups – you will invite issues in your mouth to fester and become more expensive and stressful to deal with later on.
Brown spots = cavities
Brown marks on your teeth aren’t necessarily cavities. Sometimes a brown spot on the teeth can just be the enamel that’s re-hardened after the decay process has stopped.
If you’re not sure, you should book a dentist appointment to check and get an authoritative answer.
You can’t get cavities in a tooth that’s been filled
This is another silly myth. It’s very easy for new cavities to form in or around places where you have had fillings. Fillings aren’t permanent and will break down from decay eventually, which is why you need regular dental check-ups.
Cavities are only a problem for children and adolescents
This relates to the myth that cavities are only caused by over-consumption of sugary sweets and soft drinks – foods that are generally associated with younger people. Adults can actually be at a higher risk of cavities.
Medications that adults take habitually can cause extra dryness in the mouth, meaning you have less saliva present to offset the effects of tooth decay.
Ultimately, poor dietary and dental hygiene habits are the biggest contributing factors to the prevalence of cavities. People too often taken their teeth for granted and don’t realise how making a little effort every single day can save them a great deal of time, stress and money down the road.
What should you do about your cavities?
Book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible! As with any medical issue, a cavity is only going to get worse and more difficult to treat the longer it is neglected. Neglecting your cavities is definitely not worth the far more expensive and invasive root canal procedure you would be forced to pursue otherwise.