Common cavity myths

Cavities always seem to be a big question when patients ask about their dental care. Read up on six common cavity myths and the real facts behind them.

1. You’ll know when you have a cavity

  • Myth. Sometimes you might know, but usually at that point it has spread to a larger area than it would have if it had been found at a routine dental screening.
2. Sugar is the only thing that causes cavities
  • Myth. Acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities, and any carb you eat can start that process as well. Acidic foods can break down your teeth’s enamel, weaken the tooth and make teeth more prone to decay. That includes sugar as well as rice, potatoes, bread and even fruits and vegetables.
3. Genetics plays a role in your oral health
  • Fact. Decay can certainty be affected by genetics, but with proper oral maintenance you can try to override your mouth’s habits.
4. Cavities are more likely between teeth
  • Fact. Anywhere bacteria can hide that you can’t get to, it is a likely place for decay.
5. Kids get more cavities than adults
  • Myth. Due to the fluoride in tap water, children often have less cavities than adults. Senior citizens, on the other hand, are more likely to get them because of dry mouth caused by medications.
6. You have to brush, floss and rinse to prevent cavities
  • Fact. Brushing twice a day, and flossing and rinsing daily will remove the bacteria from every area of your tooth to prevent cavities.

Dr. Wayne Silverman, Dominion’s dental director, has more than 30 years of consulting, teaching and private practice experience. He helps design and review Dominion’s plans, policies and administrative procedures. He is also an associate professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.