What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

Blonde man with facial hair wears a plaid jacket and looks anxiously to the side thinking about cavities
It’s likely that you or someone you know has had a cavity. In fact, you may be surprised to learn just how many people get cavities. But before we dive into the statistics, let’s learn a little more about what cavities are and how you get them.

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is tooth decay, which occurs when your tooth’s enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth, is destroyed. The way this happens is that your oral bacteria eat the sugar in the foods and drinks you consume and produce an acid byproduct that dissolves the minerals in your teeth. Cavities often form in between your teeth, along the gum line, near dental fillings, and in the pits and grooves in the teeth at the back of your mouth. If cavities are not treated, the decay can spread to neighboring teeth and into your tooth’s pulp, a bundle of nerves and blood vessels. At this point, you will require root canal therapy to preserve your tooth. But decayed and infected teeth that are too late to save will need to be extracted to protect your oral health.

How Are Cavities Diagnosed?

You may not realize you have a cavity because you don’t have any feeling in your enamel and therefore can’t tell when it’s decaying. However, severe tooth decay exposes the underlying dentin, which contains tiny tubes that connect to your tooth’s inner nerves, at which point you will feel pain and sensitivity. But because it’s so hard to detect cavities on your own, it’s important to get a dental exam every six months so we can check for cavities in your mouth. The way we do this is by looking at your dental X-rays and probing your teeth to look for any pits or any spots that feel too soft because the enamel has begun to dissolve.

What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

In a 2016 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 90% of adults in the United States have had a cavity. They also reported that 1 in 4 adults have cavities that are untreated. You should visit us at Rigby Advanced Dental every six months to confirm whether or not your mouth is cavity-free! We will also clean your teeth of a sticky film of accumulated bacteria called plaque, and tartar, which is hardened plaque.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

If you don’t want to be in the 25% of adults with untreated cavities, maintain a healthy diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables and low in carbohydrates and sugars, brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and get a checkup and cleaning every six months at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us today to schedule your biannual appointment!

4 Healthier Alternatives to Sugar

A jar overflowing with sticky caramel, brownies, ice cream, and candy next to a pink and white bag of sticky popcorn
Ever heard the phrase “sugar rots your teeth” from your parents or your dentist growing up? Well, they weren’t wrong! Although people tend to focus on how sugar can cause weight gain, diabetes, and other ailments, did you know that it can negatively affect your oral health, too? Don’t worry, though, we have four great sugar alternatives that allow you to indulge your sweet tooth without destroying your teeth!

How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

When you eat sugary foods like candy or drink sugary beverages like soda and don’t properly wash away the sugary residue with enough saliva, water, and proper oral care, bacteria on your teeth feed on that sugar and release acid, which in turn dissolves your tooth enamel. Once the enamel is worn down, your teeth are vulnerable to cavities and decay, which can result in tooth loss down the line. So sugar itself isn’t necessarily bad for teeth, but it can be responsible for health-altering damage. Avoid hard candies, sticky sweets (including dried fruit!), pastries, soda, and alcohol if you don’t want to expose your teeth to sugar.

4 Sugar Alternatives to Consider

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugarless carbohydrate that looks like sugar and is sweet like sugar but isn’t considered an artificial sweetener because it is derived naturally and doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. You will find it in gum, mints, mouthwashes, and even toothpastes because it can actually curb decay-causing bacteria and is completely safe for your teeth.

2. Honey

Honey boasts a ton of health benefits and won’t cause big spikes in your blood sugar, is antimicrobial, and even has electrolytes. However, it’s not necessarily “better” for your teeth, so do be sure to use it sparingly and wash your mouth thoroughly with water after consuming it.

3. Stevia

Derived from the leaves of the stevia plant, this sweetener is all-natural and also prevents swings in your blood sugar levels. It tastes pretty good, too, so you won’t even miss out on sugar.

4. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a yummy alternative to sugar and is really easy to bake with, since you can use equal amounts of it as you would regular white sugar.

Healthy Foods That Promote Strong Teeth

Nuts, dairy products (such as cheese and yogurt), apples, celery, carrots, and leafy green vegetables are just a few of the delicious and nutritious foods that support good oral health.

Healthy Diet + Preventive Care

Remember that no matter your diet, daily brushing and flossing is the best way to keep plaque and bacteria off of your teeth and reduce the risk of developing cavities. Visit our office twice a year to make sure your teeth and gums are in great shape, too. From cleanings to restorative procedures, let us help you have the smile of your dreams at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!