Truth Decay: Common Misconceptions About Cavities and Fillings

park-ridge-dental-fillingsCavity: the most dreaded C-word in all of dentistry. It also happens to be one of the most common, with an estimated 78% of Americans developing at least one cavity by age 17. The fact that tooth decay is so easily preventable makes this statistic even more shocking. Dr. Loukas debunks the most commonly held misconceptions about tooth decay, oral health, and dental fillings in Park Ridge, IL.

“I don’t eat much sugar, so I’m not at risk for tooth decay.”

Absolutely not, says Dr. Loukas. Several factors contribute to tooth decay, and not all are related to sugar consumption. A food or beverage needn’t be sweet to contain sugar. When you eat foods that contain starches and other carbohydrates, your saliva begins breaking these substances down into—you guessed it—sugar. Bread, pasta, and cereal all contain carbohydrates, and they all take on a sticky, paste-like consistency when chewed. As a result, they are more likely to cling between teeth and in other hard-to-reach places within your mouth. It’s best to brush and floss as soon as possible after consuming these foods.

“Only unhealthy foods can cause tooth decay.”

Wrong again, says Dr. Loukas. Nutritional value has virtually no bearing on potential to cause cavities. Take citrus fruits and juices, for example, which are highly acidic. Each time you consume an acidic substance, the acid attacks and weakens your tooth enamel. Over time, this creates pits in the protective enamel covering, leaving you more vulnerable to stained teeth and cavities. Does this mean you should brush your teeth immediately after eating acidic foods? Actually, no. It’s best to avoid brushing your teeth for half an hour after consuming an acidic substance. Otherwise, you may cause more damage to the enamel.

“Everyone will be able to tell that I have a dental filling.”

In the past, perhaps, but this is no longer the case. Years ago, silver and gold fillings were the only options for patients who had cavities. Today, Dr. Loukas is pleased to offer another option, composite resin fillings. Unlike metal, composite resin can be custom-shaded to closely match your natural tooth color, making it less obvious—if at all—that you have a filling. Composite resins offer impressive durability and a subtle alternative to traditional metal fillings. However, we do still offer amalgam fillings.

Preventing tooth decay begins with a dental checkup. To learn more about restorative dentistry, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Thanasi and Maria Loukas, contact us at 847.696.1919. We welcome patients living in Park Ridge, Chicago, and the surrounding areas. For the latest news and insights from our practice, follow Park Ridge Dental on Facebook.

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