1994 marked a 24-year-long steady decline in the number of cavities reported each year. The efforts of the American Dental Association, along with the National Institute of Health, were showing results. Since then, the trend has begun a slow reversal, based on evidence shown by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. A study they published revealed a clear indication that the number of cavities appearing each year is again on the rise. It isn’t just the number of cavities appearing but their severity, to make matters worse. This means that cavities are more numerous and more severe than they have been in decades.
How To Help Reduce The New Trend of Cavities
It all starts with the standard practice of keeping up with our oral hygiene practices. Regular flossing, brushing, and mouthwash use are essential to keeping cavities at bay. By keeping up with these habits and learning to do them correctly, we can do our part in slowing this trend. The VA Office of Dentistry took steps to prevent the rise of cavities in those under their care by making fluoride treatment options more available to them between 2009-2012. These efforts were a major step towards slowing the trend in their patient population.
These additional fluoride treatments were followed up on and discovered to produce a 10% reduction in the amount of restoration work needed on those who received them. Fluoride treatments are very helpful regardless of the patient’s age. When we combine efforts like these with improved awareness and education on how to properly care for our teeth, we raise the chances we can stem the tide.
Cavity Prevention Methods
While fluoride is an essential part of preventing tooth decay and has proven itself to be incredibly effective, other steps exist. These other methods work wonderfully side by side with fluoride to reduce tooth decay.
- Community Water Supplies – An additional point about fluoride should be made. Those who live in municipal environments and are on city water typically receive fluoride in their tap water. This measure has been in place for decades and has been one major component in reducing the number of cavities that appear. Nearly 75% of all people in America receive fluoride through their city water.
- Lifestyle Changes – As always, diet remains one of the most important and effective methods of controlling tooth decay. Without the sugars, acids, and other elements that can lead to the softening and erosion of enamel, tooth decay is greatly slowed. Try limiting the number of carbohydrates and acids in your diet.
- Dental Sealants – Dental sealants are a great new innovation that provides effective protection from tooth decay. These new sealants are thin layers of plastic that prevent the bacteria, sugars, and acids from coming in contact with the patient’s teeth. The very young and those of advanced years can really benefit from these. However, there’s a growing number of patients of every age opting for sealants.
This list represents just the start of all the new oral protection innovations coming out of the industry. They each represent one more way to eliminate tooth decay for you and your children. Speak to your dentist for other oral health tips to help reduce the number of cavities reported each year.