CAVITIES: Preventable? How do they Form? How Common are they?
I am planning on writing an entire detailed series on cavities. For now, this article serves as a basic summation pertaining to tooth decay and cavities.
Cavities...an all too common issue encountered by those seeking dental treatment. The dogma of every dental professional is to educate their patients on the necessary steps to maintain a high standard of oral health. Nevertheless, tooth decay, and the resulting cavities, remain as one of the most common dental diseases treated by dentists.
Cavities arise as a result of tooth decay. According to an article posted by the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, “Tooth decay, an infectious disease -- is the second most common disease, after the common cold. One in four adults have cavities, and more than half of teenagers in the U.S. have had cavities” (1).
Based on the site, www.mouthhealthy.org, when one consumes a high amount of sugary foods and drinks, the particles that remain on one’s teeth serve as hotspots for bacteria. These bacteria proceed to form acid, which breaks down the enamel, otherwise known as the outer layer of the tooth. This breakdown of the tooth’s enamel results in a cavity (2).
On the bright side, cavities can be prevented! Some common steps one can take includes the following:
- Brush and floss your teeth consistently (at least twice daily).
- Avoid drinks that contain a high amount of sugar.
- If you smoke… quit it!
- Visit your dentist for routine check-ups to get a sense of the state of your oral health (1,2).
Prior to reading this blog, you may have not been aware about the origins of cavities and its commonality. I hope this blog has served as a basic introduction on this topic.
(1) "5 Amazingly Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Cavities." 5 Amazingly Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Cavities | University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry. Accessed November 17, 2018. https://dentistry.uic.edu/patients/cavity-prevention-tips.
(2) "Decay." Mouth Healthy TM. Accessed November 17, 2018. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/decay.