The Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP) was founded to help ensure children are getting the oral healthcare they need, but its insights aren’t just valuable for children–they tell us that most adults don’t understand cavities and what can be done to prevent them.

Preventing cavities is infinitely preferable to trying to repair them, and understanding the causes of cavities is the critical first step to prevention.

“Little or No Control” Over Cavities

Fotolia_85924650_Subscription_Monthly_M (1)One of the biggest shortcomings in understanding is that people feel powerless over their cavities. In fact, 43% of adults surveyed said they had “little or no control” over whether they develop cavities, while only 57% knew they had “significant” or “total control” over cavities that form in their mouth.

While it’s true that there are some factors that influence cavities you have no control over, such as your genetic risk, your exposure to cavity-causing bacteria, and your access to fluoridated water, there are many other factors that you can control, such as:

  • Your diet
  • When and how often you eat
  • How well you perform oral hygiene
  • How often you make your regular dental checkups

Diet is one of the most important factors in your cavity risk, but this survey showed that people don’t understand its impact. For example, the study showed that 40% of adults didn’t realize that sugar in fruit juice could contribute to tooth decay. Many people probably also don’t realize that foods like diet soda, energy drinks, and caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea that contain milk or sugar.

Take Control of Your Cavities

It’s not surprising that most people who believe they aren’t in control of their cavities don’t realize that cavities are caused by bacteria. The study showed that 40% of adults didn’t understand that cavities were caused by a transmissible bacterial infection. This bacteria can be spread by kissing, sharing food, or sharing toothbrushes. So cavity risk can increase as you are exposed to more different kinds of oral bacteria.

People also don’t realize how widespread oral diseases are. Over 80% of those surveyed thought obesity was the most common chronic childhood illness–but it’s really cavities. You may not realize a similar disparity exists among adults–only a third of US adults are obese, but nearly half have gum disease!

People may also not realize that oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease can contribute to other serious health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

But once you understand how serious this issue is and what you can do to protect yourself, you can take control of your cavities and have a healthier mouth. Even if you have experienced significant decay that may require extensive reconstructive dentistry, your smile can be made healthy again and you can use prevention to avoid decay in the future.

Please call  for an appointment with a Rochester, MI dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.