Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Are You in the Know about Cavities?

By: | Saturday, December 15th, 2018 | General Dentistry

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

Cavities Burke, VATooth decay, or cavities, is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases today. Furthermore, we aren’t immune to getting the occasional cavity throughout our adult life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that virtually every person in our country will develop tooth decay at some point. The good news is there are steps we can take to prevent the deterioration of teeth. The bad news is there are still plenty of people who aren’t quite sure how to do that. Here, we point out a few misconceptions about cavities and how you can avoid this unnecessary discomfort.

If I have a cavity, I will also have a toothache.

This could be true, but we do not encourage patients to look at pain as the only sign of a cavity. In almost every case, tooth decay progresses from a tiny spot of erosion on a tooth to a deeper channel of damage. It isn’t until a cavity has spread close to or into the dentin, where nerve endings are more sensitive, that a toothache may begin. Once decay has reached this point, the damage that has occurred may be too significant for a filling; root canal therapy may be needed.

Don’t wait to see your dentist. Keep up with routine exams and x-rays to catch cavities before they cause pain and extensive damage.

Sugar causes cavities.

Sugar has been pinpointed as a primary factor in cavity development, leading to the widespread notion that sugar causes cavities. This is only a half-truth. Cavities are the result of acidity, and acidity is a byproduct of the bacteria that live in the mouth. When you consume sugary foods, including potatoes, fruit, and bread (not just cookies and candy), the bacteria in your mouth also consume sugar in the form of residue left on your teeth and gums. The acid that gets deposited turns to plaque and sticks to teeth, causing erosion.

When the perception is that sugar causes cavities, there is also a common secondary thought that sugar-free foods are safer for teeth and gums. This is also not true. For example, a sugar-free soda is highly acidic and therefore quite likely to increase the amount of plaque that sits on teeth.

Sugar is not the main culprit of tooth decay, acid is. To protect your teeth from degradation, drink more water throughout the day and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking. Brush twice a day and floss every night before bed. Finally, maximize oral care by seeing your dentist every six months.

A new year is before us, and that means a whole new chance for a healthier smile. Call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule a checkup and cleaning.



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