What you don’t know: 6 Cavity Myths Busted!

For years myths about the cause of cavities have been held on to as fact. Today we set the record straight and give you the truth about decay.
MYTH #1: Brushing and flossing are enough to fight decay.
FACT: Brushing and flossing alone do not kill the bacteria that are the real cause of decay. Dental caries, the bacterial imbalance that causes cavities, is a very complex biofilm infection. There are currently 23 identified strains of bacteria in biofilms that produce the acids responsible for causing cavities or holes in your teeth. It is more than lack of home hygiene that puts you at risk for the disease. Click here to check out our Caries Risk Assessment to see a comprehensive list of risk factors.
MYTH #2: Cavities are not contagious.
FACT: Studies show that infants are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities, but that they are infected most often by their parents or caregivers. This route of infection is often referred to as “vertical transmission.” This vertical transmission takes place when the infant is kissed, milk or food is “sampled” for temperature, and pacifiers are “cleaned” in the parents’ mouth. It is not uncommon that whole families will be affected by the caries infection. In order to know if you have the infection, we can do a free and painless 2-second swab screening for you.
MYTH #3: Sugar is the reason I get cavities.
FACT: Bacteria that cause cavities are driven by an acidic pH. Acidic conditions in the mouth (pH below 7) cause a shift in the species of bacteria that form the biofilm (thin layer of bacteria that every person has) on teeth. When this shift occurs, cavity-causing bacteria take over and good bacteria die out. Once the cavity-causing bacteria dominate the biofilm, tooth decay sets in.
MYTH #4: Fluoride is the answer to stopping decay.
FACT: Studies show that the increase in non-therapeutic fluoride use (over-the-counter mouthwash and toothpaste) has not lowered the incidence of decay in adults; in fact tooth decayis an epidemic in American children with

50% of 5th graders

showing active signs of the disease! The World Health Organizationsays that 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults worldwide have cavities. While fluoride is one of the ways to help manage decay, it is not the sole answer. There are actually 5 key elements to treating tooth decay (see image below). A Caries Risk Assessment and CariScreen infection test can provide individuals with a targeted and comprehensive therapy that would lower their risk.

MYTH #5: I get cavities because I have soft or weak enamel.
FACT: The acid produced by bacteria is no joke! It is a scientific fact that when the pH in the mouth drops below 5.5, demineralization of any enamel takes place. The acid produced by bacteria eats away at the surface of our enamel and creates holes that we call cavities. If you are getting cavities, it is not because your enamel is ‘softer’ than someone else; you have risk factors that are keeping your mouth too acidic. Ask your doctor what risk factors you can change and what elevated pH products are right for you.