Myths and facts about cavities, part 3

The internet is full of information and misinformation about oral health.  It is often difficult to know if the information you’re reading online is fact or fiction.  WebMD has an entire section devoted to healthy teeth and included in this section is an article entitled, “15 Myths and Facts About Cavities.”  While this article isn’t specifically written about children’s teeth, many of the myths and facts discussed are common topics of discussion during appointments at our office.  See if you can identify fact versus fiction in the original WebMD article and read on for the last part of our discussion of how these topics apply to children’s teeth.  Click here to read part 1 or part 2 of the discussion.

11. Sensitivity in Teeth Means You Have Decay – WebMD says:  Myth

Sensitivity of teeth is one of the most common issues that patients ask about.  There are many different ways that teeth can be sensitive and there are many, many reasons why they can feel that way.  Teeth can be sensitive to extremes of hot and cold, sweets, pressure or nothing at all.  Sometimes these feelings are the result of tooth decay but often they result from other issues such as gum recession cracks in teeth.  Tooth sensitivity is such a popular discussion topic with good reason.  If your child complains of sensitive teeth, ask about it at their next visit.

12. Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals – WebMD says:  Myth

While it is true that an untreated cavity can ultimately lead to a root canal, there are several other reasons that root canals can be necessary as well.  Any time the nerve inside a tooth has been damaged, root canal treatment is indicated.  Nerve damage can result from tooth decay, traumatic injury, fractured teeth and even from severe clenching and grinding.  Fortunately, the incidence of these issues is lower in the pediatric population than in adults.

13. Clenching and Grinding May Lead to Cavities – WebMD says:  Fact

As stated in the article, clenching and grinding is quite harmful to teeth.  Over time, it can result in loss of the protective enamel on the surface of a tooth, making it more susceptible to tooth decay.  However, it is worth noting that children commonly grind their teeth, particularly during periods where baby teeth are falling out and adult teeth are growing into the mouth.  Grinding of teeth associated with developmental changes of the jaws are rarely damaging to the teeth and harmful changes in tooth enamel are not usually seen.

14. You Don’t Need to Worry About Cavities in Baby Teeth – WebMD says:  Myth

Baby teeth matter for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, but they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some primary teeth are present until a child is 12 years old or older. Proper care of baby teeth is essential for the overall health of your child.  Untreated cavities can lead to infections which can spread to other parts of the body, leading to serious complications, hospitalizations and in rare circumstances, even death.

15. Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities – WebMD says:  Fact

New oral care products are introduced to the market all the time.  Parents frequently ask if these new tools are a good substitute for brushing, flossing or rinsing.  The truth is that there is no substitute for the time tested routine of brushing twice daily for two minutes with a toothpaste containing fluoride, flossing once daily and rinsing before bed with an anti-cavity rinse.  New products can certainly offer additional protection from cavities, but the old fashioned routine will always eliminate most or all of the bacteria that can cause cavities, gum disease and bad breath.

If you have questions about cavities and your child, call our office any time to speak to a member of our team.


About the Author:

Since 1972, Salem Pediatric Dental & Orthodontic Associates has provided comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence including those with special health care needs. We proudly serve the communities of Salem, Lynn, Peabody, Danvers, Marblehead, Swampscott, Beverly, and many more.
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