Most of America Has Tooth Decay

You have probably heard the saying, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” Well, turns out this saying is false. Actually, an apple a day will increase the sugar levels in your mouth and encourage plaque to build up in your mouth. Due to this plaque, your mouth can become vulnerable to tooth decay and develop. In a recent study, it was published that nearly the entire adult population of the United States has had dental caries, or cavities.
Interestingly enough, though most of the population of America has had a cavity at some point, not many people know what cavities are. In this blog, we will discuss what a cavity is and what causes them. We will go over how to have them treated and great tips to prevent them in the future.

What is a Cavity?

Cavities are the result of microbes building up in your mouth. Shortly after we are born, microbes start to grow in our mouth. The more sugar we eat, the more the microbes are allowed to grow. Once the community of microbes becomes too great, they can cause the initial phases of a cavity. If you have a sugar-based diet and consume many sugary items, this can only further contribute to the development of a cavity. The sugar in your mouth can become concentrated and cause an influx of bacteria called mutans streptococci. The bacteria, combined with the microbes already in your smile them create byproducts, such as lactic acid. This acidic solution is erosive to your teeth but will not affect the bacteria in any way. While your teeth have defense systems in place, such as a protective coat called the enamel, is no match for lactic acid. In fact, while acid builds in your mouth is will wear away your natural enamel. Because your teeth have no defense, bacteria can then eat away in the crevices of your tooth and infect the second layer of your tooth called dentin. If the bacteria makes it past the dentin layer into where the nerves and the central tissue of the tooth, then you will have a toothache and intense pain.

How Common Are Cavities?

In a study completed in 2015, 91 percent of people in America have dental cavities. And, this number is suspected to have risen by 2018. Because Americans adhere to a diet of sugar and carbohydrates, bacteria is in abundance. It is difficult to fend off dental bacteria and cavities, especially when so much of American diet includes harmful ingredients.
As you age, and your diet changes, you are at greater risk for cavities. As a child, you will be subjected to sugar content, but your enamel is at its peak condition, therefore you are at less risk for a cavity. As you age, especially when in you’re in your teenage years, your teeth can undergo a lot of “abuse” and your enamel erode away. Once the enamel is gone, your teeth are “sitting ducks” for any bacteria. The less enamel protection you have, the less protection you will have and the more likely you will have a cavity.

Preventing a Cavity

Since cavities are caused by sugar. It is best to limit the amount of sugar you are eating. For one, your body doesn’t need that much sugar to survive, and most of the sugars you ingest on your day to day aren’t good for you anyway. To limit the likelihood of getting a cavity, it is best that you cut sugar from your diet. Small traces of sugar is okay, such as in fruits and natural juices. However, eating too many fruits, like an apple day, can be too much for your teeth.

Josh Colkmire DDS

If you are currently questioning if you treat your teeth well, perhaps a cleaning and checkup would be good for you. With our cosmetic dentist, you will be able to tell the state of your teeth and treat any cavities you might already have. Contact us today.