Tooth decay is a common problem that affects millions of Americans every year. But while it’s not uncommon to get a cavity, there are some things you may not know about them. Here are six interesting facts about cavities from our Birmingham, Alabama, dentist’s office.
1) Cavities are a form of tooth decay
Tooth decay is a frightening term. It conjures up images of rotten, yellowing, and crooked smiles we don’t want to think about.
Tooth decay can be harmful to our overall health. According to studies, 26 percent of adults aged 20 to 64 have some form of untreated tooth decay.
If left untreated, decay can spread and cause an infection that requires surgery and antibiotic treatment.
2) Cavities are formed from bacteria
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria get trapped between your teeth’s enamel layer and the tooth’s outermost surface. This causes plaque to build up over time, which leads to cavities. The good news is that you can easily prevent cavities by brushing your teeth regularly and flossing at least once daily.
3) Cavity prevention doesn’t have any age limits.
Visiting the dentist as soon as your baby starts teething is important because cavities can start forming as early as your first teeth appear. Your dentist will be able to monitor your child’s tooth development and help you learn how to take good care of your child’s teeth.
On the one hand, older people are experiencing an increase in tooth decay due to medicines that dry out the salivary glands. This is often caused by medications that dry out the saliva, which helps protect the teeth from harmful bacteria.
4) Sugars rot your teeth.
Sugars and other carbs often start an acidic reaction in your mouth, which weakens your teeth and makes them more susceptible to decay. Luckily, sugar is usually found in foods that contain protein, too, so you should avoid eating sweets altogether if you want to keep your teeth healthy.
5) Preventing cavities is the best way to keep them from happening.
If you want to prevent cavities from occurring again, you need to keep them away from your teeth in the first place. Regular dental visits will help you clean your teeth thoroughly. Brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist every six months for regular checks.
6) You cannot always tell if you’re developing cavities.
If you don’t visit the dentist regularly, you may miss early warning signs of cavities. And because dentists have years of experience examining your mouth, they can spot any potential cavities before they worsen.
Dentists suggest you go to them at least once every six months to get a thorough cleaning and check if anything needs fixing.
Tooth decay can be frightening – but it is manageable. Regular brushing and flossing practices and annual dental visits can keep your teeth healthy for years to come. If you’re behind on your appointments, contact our dentist’s office in Birmingham to schedule an appointment today.