Dental Cavities: Facts vs. Myths
Tooth decay, cavities, and dental caries: They all mean the same thing—trouble. A cavity is essentially a bacterial infection on a tooth. It occurs when the enamel on the outside of the tooth gets worn away, allowing bacteria to attack the tooth and penetrate to the deeper layers. The longer a cavity is left untreated, the more serious problems it can cause. Make sure you schedule a dental exam every six months, plus an extra appointment if you notice any unusual symptoms.
Myth: Sugar by itself causes cavities.
Sugar does cause cavities, but it doesn’t work alone. Each time you consume sugar in any form, it feeds the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria can use the sugar to produce acids. The acids dissolve the enamel layer of the tooth, allowing the bacteria to invade the inner layers.
Myth: Cavities always hurt right away.
Actually, by the time a cavity causes pain, it’s become a serious problem. Cavities won’t hurt right away because in the early stage, the infection is confined to the outer layer of the tooth. As the decay advances into the tooth, it can affect the nerve, which results in pain and sensitivity. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist every six months for an exam, even if you haven’t had any symptoms.
Myth: Sugar-free sodas are safe for your teeth.
Limiting your sugar intake will definitely support your oral health, but sugar isn’t the only problem contributing to tooth decay. Remember that sugar is problematic in part because it contributes to acid formation. And unfortunately, sodas are highly acidic, even when they are sugar-free. Consuming any type of soda will encourage enamel erosion and increase the risk of cavities.
If you think you might have a cavity or other dental health problem, get in touch with the office of John R. Carson, DDS right away. You can schedule an appointment in Tucson by calling (520) 514-7203. You’ll find our dental office to be a welcoming, friendly place that prioritizes your health and safety.