The World Health Organization reports that worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities. But, did you know that cavities could leave you more prone to other illnesses? Read about the correlation between cavities and other diseases below.
Tooth Decay Can Make You More Prone to Infection
Severe cavities and tooth decay are major causes of tooth loss, which makes you more prone to infection. The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause you to get infections in your lungs or even pneumonia. Additionally, cavities and infected teeth are riddled with unhealthy bacteria. If left untreated, a tooth infection can cause a deeper infection in the pulp tissue. This may result in a hospital trip or medical emergency, according to the AAPD.
Cavities Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease
Multiple studies have pointed out that plaque buildup can increase the odds of contracting heart disease and stroke. Bacteria that cause oral disease and cavities can release toxins into or travel through the bloodstream and help to form fatty plaques in the arteries. This can lead to blood clots and stroke.
Cavities Can Make Diabetes Difficult to Manage
Did you know that 29.1 million people living in the United States have diabetes? That’s nearly 10% of the population! Of those people, many undoubtedly have cavities or gingivitis. Cavities and gum disease can cause blood sugar to rise, and make it difficult to manage diabetes. Further research has also shown that improving oral habits and treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control, and decrease the progression of the disease.
Cavities are Almost Completely Preventable
Cavities do not directly cause other disease, but they do leave you more susceptible to other illnesses and infections. Despite the prevalence of cavities, there’s good news: cavities are nearly 100% preventable. You can prevent cavities by brushing twice per day for 2 minutes at a time, and flossing once per day. Additionally, you can take dietary actions to help prevent cavities.
Prevent Cavities By:
Avoiding Sugary Drinks
When left on your teeth, sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities, which is why you should avoid sugary drinks. Beverages like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar that damage teeth, and affect your overall health.
Limiting Starchy Foods
Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces, and make it difficult to clean them away. Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it which ultimately leads to tooth decay. Try to limit the amount of starch that you consume, and thoroughly brush and rinse food debris away after eating.
Detect Cavities Early
Tooth decay is painful and can affect the overall health of developing mouths, which is why early treatment is the best way to handle cavities. Routine checkups every six months are the best way to stay on top of your child’s oral health, and keep cavities away.
Find a pediatric dentist near you by using our search tool. A pediatric dentist has specifically trained to handle children’s oral health, and will help them prevent cavities.