How Deadly Are Dental Cavities? How to Maintain Your Family’s Oral Health 

Can ignoring a toothache kill you?

It may be fascinating for some to know that a simple toothache can be fatal.

Annually, many people will suffer toothaches. While they will not die from the pain, an underlying infection from tooth pain can.

These infections can cause periodontal issues like cavities and tooth decay, leading to gum abscess that cause death due to widespread blood infection.

This can often stem from people’s unwillingness to go to regular dental appointments.

This may be due to the fear of dentists, or it could be due to fear of incurring costs, particularly if they don’t have dental insurance to cover the care.

Nonetheless, dental cavities are something that should not be taken lightly. 

Here are some facts you need to know about dental cavities: 

1. Dental Cavities are Common

Tooth decay is among the most common diseases next to the common cold, particularly among younger people. At least a quarter of children aged 2-5 years old have dental cavities.

For those aged 12-15 and those over 40 years old, tooth decay incidence is 50% and 90%, respectively. The condition is fairly common because of bacterial buildup. 

Our oral cavity typically has bacteria that are crucial for changing the chemical composition of the food. These bacteria are responsible for converting sugary and starchy food items into acids. 

In the mouth, acid, bacteria, food debris, and saliva all mix to form the plaque, which then sticks to the teeth. When this plaque is not removed, it can become tartar.

The presence of both plaque and tartar can cause gum irritation and result in gum diseases and periodontitis. 

2. Dental Cavities Can Cause School Absences

Tooth decay also has an educational and social impact. According to a study, children who do not practice good oral hygiene can miss school as much as three times more than their peers.

Sadly, these students are often those from economically vulnerable families. 

3. Dental Cavities Are Preventable

By practicing good oral hygiene, you can prevent tooth decay.

Babies are not born with bacteria that cause tooth decay, but it is still more commonly found in younger children,  as many parents do not have the right knowledge about dental care.

Sadly, some parents think that they should only brush their children’s teeth when they are older. 

Babies, even if they don’t have many teeth yet, should be started on good oral hygiene. Parents should make sure that they should clean their child’s mouth after each feeding.

As soon as the first tooth emerges, parents should bring their child for their first-ever dental visit. During their first year, the child should also get fluoride treatments.

For adults, regular brushing and flossing can work wonders in reducing the incidence of dental cavities, which is among the leading cause of disability among millions of Americans. 

4. Dental Cavities Are Reversible

Through regular dental visits, your dentist or hygienist can detect the presence of a white spot, which is among the early signs of a beginning dental cavity.

At this point, dental cavities can still be reversible. Your dentist can suggest repairing it with a fluoride-infused toothpaste and encouraging good oral hygiene to allow the enamel to repair itself and become stronger.

However, if the tooth decay ensues, the enamel can weaken and result in a cavity. At this point, the only way to repair the hole is by filling it.  

5. Dental Cavities Are Deadly

As mentioned, dental cavities can be deadly.

An oral infection can spread rapidly due to its position and connections. Infections coming from the upper back tooth can, in rare cases, spread to the sinus beneath the eye.

This infection can quickly go to the brain and cause brain infection and death. 

What To Do If You Have Dental Cavities

If you have dental cavities, here are some options that help prevent it from getting worse:

Fluoride Treatments

As mentioned earlier, getting regular fluoride treatment can help reverse early signs of mineral degradation of your tooth enamel.

It is best to get professional fluoride treatments because these often contain higher concentrations than those found in your regular toothpaste. 

Fillings

If there is a big cavity, your dentist may also advise you to get fillings, but they are ideal during the earliest stage of a dental cavity. 

Crowns

For more extensive tooth decay, your dentist may replace your natural crown by drilling away the decayed parts and do a custom-filled crown. 

Root Canal

For dental cavities affecting the tooth pulp, your dentist may suggest a root canal to repair your tooth’s inner material. They may also do filling to replace the pulp. 

Tooth Extraction

Sometimes, dental cavities may be too severe that there is no other option but to remove it entirely.

With all of these potential issues in mind, you should make sure that you take good care of your teeth going forward.

Visit your dentist at least twice a year and start down the path of maintaining good oral health.

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