4 cavity facts you may not know
SUMMARY: Knowledge is of the utmost importance when it comes to combating cavities and protecting your entire mouth.
Posted: January 19, 2017
There is an abundance of myths that permeate the oral care industry. Like how sugar is the only cause of cavities, or that sensitivity is a sure sign of decaying teeth. Understanding these myths is vital in maintaining proper oral care, as awareness and understanding are powerful tools when it comes protecting your teeth. To further expand your knowledge base, here are a few cavity-related facts you might not have been aware of that could prove doubly valuable in the future:
"Cavities can often be representative of larger health issues."
1. Cavities affect more than just the teeth
As the National Children's Oral Health Foundation explained, cavities aren't a standalone issue but representative of larger health concerns. Cavities are the most obvious sign of dental disease, and if left untreated, this disease can result in bacterial infections and the need for emergency surgical repair. Oftentimes, cavities can lead to pain that's so severe that the individual has problems speaking or eating. As for cavities' effect on the rest of your body, a 2000 study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology linked tooth decay with everything from dementia and stroke to diabetes and heart disease.
2. Flossing is extra important
According to a 2014 survey from the American Dental Association, just 4 out of 10 Americans floss regularly. Another 20 percent responded that they never floss. This is especially problematic, given that by not flossing you're missing out on 40 percent of your teeth's total surface area. Over the years there has been loads of research conducted to back up the importance of flossing. A 2006 study found that weekly flossing from a hygienist can reduce cavities in children by 40 percent. A 2012 study didn't find as profound results but noted that flossing was important for removing plaque.
3. Microbes are truly everywhere
Bacteria are at the root of most oral care conditions. As RDH magazine pointed out, your mouth, gums and sinuses all contain a multitude of microbes, including up to 650 kinds of bacteria and 80 or so different viruses. But just how many microbes does the average human mouth contain? Estimates put that figure near 20 billion oral microbes. And that number is thanks to bacteria's dizzying rate of replication, as they can double their numbers five times every 24 hours. If nothing else, this just proves how important it is to brush and floss several times per day.
4. Your teeth are incredibly strong
Perhaps one of the reasons that cavities are so troubling is because of how naturally strong your teeth are. The Mohs scale ranks minerals based on overall hardness. Human teeth rank at 5, much stronger than the likes of iron, nickel and even steel. In fact, your teeth are just as strong as that of a Great White shark, as Science magazine reported. All of that durability is because of your teeth's enamel, that protective outer layer made of several highly mineralized substances. Even with all its strength, the only way to protect enamel is to maintain a proper oral care regimen.