Truths and Myths About Cavities | Sprout

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Truths and Myths About Cavities

Cavities are probably the most well-known dental issue, and also one of the most easily
treatable ones as well. And although most parents and kids are aware of their prevalence, it’s
unlikely that they’re as well-versed in the reasons they arise, what dentists do to fix them, and
even what they actually are. Let’s clear up some of the most common misunderstandings about
your kid’s oral health in general and cavities in particular.


Myth: You Only Need A Dentist When Something Hurts

One of the more popular myths surrounding dental care is that checkups are unnecessary
unless there’s a specific issue with pain involved. The reason this thinking is flawed is that by
the time something in your mouth or teeth is hurting, the issue has progressed way too far.
Pain in your mouth and teeth come from nerve signals, which lie in the roots of teeth. When
tooth decay or damage reaches the nerve, it’s likely gone past the point of simply needing a
filling, which is cheap and simple to fix, to more invasive procedures like a pulpotomy.
This is what makes routine dental checkups so important for your child’s oral
health. By getting your kid’s teeth examined by Dr. Anderson on a regular basis, you have a
trained professional keeping a close eye on their oral health that can identify and solve dental problems before they become
painful and costly.


Truth: Sugar and Carbs Cause Cavities

The process that causes cavities begins with bacteria in your mouth enjoying a sugary or carb-
loaded feast from the food and drinks you consume. Sugars in sweets like soda and candy—as
well as those in bread, potatoes, and pasta—interact with bacteria to form acids that erode tooth
enamel.


This starts as plaque, a tacky substance that contains bacteria that coats the surfaces of teeth.
Plaque, when it’s soft, can be brushed away on a twice-daily basis, preventing the formation of
hardened plaque that cannot be brushed away. This is called calculus.
When calculus and the bacteria sealed within it sit on teeth too long, it can wear a hole in the tooth,
allowing the bacteria to be even harder to brush away or get out. This is when cavities and other
forms of tooth decay form.


The bacteria that cause cavities thrive on sugar and carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean you
need to totally eliminate these compounds from your diets—it’s impossible to do, in fact—but it
does mean you should help your children fully commit to a diligent brushing and flossing routine
to help prevent the accumulation of plaque and calculus.


Myth: Sugar-Free Drinks Don’t Cause Cavities


Although sugar and carbs are the main and most common culprits for encouraging tooth decay,
anything that makes the mouth environment more acidic can cause a cavity. This includes
sugar-free sodas and anything else with a low pH.


Fact: You Can’t Stop A Cavity in its Tracks


Once a cavity forms, it requires a dentist to correct it. No amount of brushing, flossing, or rinsing
can repair the damage to tooth enamel caused by bacterial decay. Once the bacteria makes it halfway through the enamel, there’s no going back.

Myth: Fillings Are Permanent Solutions


Although modern dental techniques and tools are excellent at providing relief and restoration to
decayed teeth, they’re still not the same as your natural tooth tissue. 
Fillings can wear and break down with time, and bacteria can still cause decay around the
edges of a filling, which is another reason why a healthy daily routine is critical to lifelong dental
health.

Children’s Dentistry in Quincy, MA


We understand the dentist’s chair can be one of the most intimidating places in your little one’s
life, which is why our staff and facilities are tailored to the experience of children. At Sprout Kids
Dentistry, we work with parents to craft a personalized plan for your child’s routine care and
dental treatment that you’re comfortable with, and that best serves your child’s needs. To learn
more about our practice and schedule your first appointment, call our office or contact us online
today.

Pediatric Dentist at

Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

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