| 06/22/13

Having misconceptions about dental decay can greatly affect the health of your smile. While some information that you hear may be accurate, there are common thoughts or beliefs that you may have heard from friends that could jeopardize the tooth, or all of your teeth.

If it’s a baby tooth, you don’t need to have it fixed.
This is probably the biggest misconception that parents have about their children’s teeth. While it is true that baby teeth will be replaced with a permanent tooth, decay in a primary tooth can cause premature loss of the tooth or even damage the developing permanent tooth below it. Allowing existing decay to go untreated will only cause the decay to spread to adjacent teeth. In some cases, children have even been hospitalized due to abscesses or brain infections associated with untreated decay of baby teeth.

If it doesn’t hurt, then it must not be that bad.
Most of the time cavities will cause some discomfort or pain, influencing the patient to see their dentist. While it may seem like a good thing if the tooth doesn’t hurt, it does frequently influence whether or not people will have the tooth fixed. A cavity that does not hurt does not mean that there is no ongoing disease that damages enamel or the nerve of the tooth. In many instances, decay can be so severe that the necessary treatment is root canal therapy, but the patient may not experience any discomfort with the tooth whatsoever. Unfortunately people that put off dental treatment due to no discomfort may find themselves losing the tooth completely.

Drinking diet soda doesn’t give you cavities because there is no sugar content.
Basically a frequent intake of any beverage other than water can increase your risk for cavities. Sodas (diet or not), sports drinks, juice and milk that are consumed often throughout the day will distribute natural or artificial sugars and acid on all surfaces of your teeth. When combined with saliva, acid byproducts and plaque are formed, and enamel decalcification begins. It has been suggested by researchers that drinking soda can be even more destructive on your teeth than methamphetamine use. Drinking water frequently throughout the day helps rinse the mouth as well as keep your smile and body healthier than any other drinks.

For the healthiest smile and best outcome of a cavity, see your dentist regularly. Routine preventive care and screenings can identify decay in its earliest forms, keeping treatment less expensive and preserving as much natural tooth enamel as possible.

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