Waterford, MI Dentist
Lloyd H. Alpert, D.D.S.
4025 Highland Road
Waterford, MI 48328
(248) 682-6010

Posts for tag: Cavities

CDC Wants More Kids to Get Dental Sealants

Fox News Health Report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged U.S. schools Tuesday to bring in dental specialists to apply sealants on kids’ molars to help reduce cavities.

Research suggests dental sealants, which are quick and easy to apply, could prevent up to 80 percent of cavities among children, yet a CDC Vital Signs report suggested about 60 percent of kids ages 6 to 11 do not get them, according to a news release. The CDC encouraged schools to implement more school-based sealant programs (SBSPs) to target low-income school-age kids especially, as these children may not have access to regular preventive care.

“Many children with untreated cavities will have difficulty eating, speaking and learning,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in the release. “Dental sealants can be an effective and inexpensive way to prevent cavities, yet only one in three low-income children currently receive them. School-based sealant programs are an effective way to get sealants to children.”

The Vital Signs report found that while 43 percent of school-age kids ages 6 to 11 had a dental sealant, low-income children were 20 percent less likely to have sealants than higher-income children.

Other studies have suggested dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities two years after application and prevent 50 percent of cavities for up to four years after placement, according to the release. Dental sealants can remain in the mouth for up to nine years before they need to be reapplied.

Kids without sealants have nearly three times as many cavities as children with them, the Vital Signs report suggested.

By targeting schools with a high percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-cost meal programs with SBSPs, officials can help improve low-income students’ dental care, according to the CDC. In the release, the CDC urged officials to target schools in need in their state, track the number of schools and children participating in SBSPs, implement policies that deliver the programs with cost effectiveness, and help connect schools with health departments and specialists in the community. The CDC currently provides funding to 21 state public health departments to implement SBSPs for low-income students who live in rural parts of the United States.




Why Some Are More Prone to Cavities

Eliminating plaque can help prevent cavities.

The world is full of inconsistencies. One of the biggest inconsistencies that we see in the dental office is the disparity in the amount of tooth decay between family members. One member of a family may be haunted by decay while another can eat and drink to his heart's content, never brush and never have to make an appointment for dental restorations after he gets dental cleanings. It is all so unfair!

To begin decay, one must have four essential ingredients. They are: the tooth, germs (plaque), food for the germs, and time of exposure. If any of these is missing there is no decay. Sugar, or food for the germs, will not cause decay on its own. For instance, if you put a tooth into a bag of sugar, nothing would happen to the tooth. Of the four decay-causing ingredients, plaque is the most important to eliminate. Plaque is a sticky mass of germs that adheres to the tooth's surface. Good brushing and flossing removes the plaque; this is most critical step to decreasing decay.

Everything we eat and drink is also food for the germs that inhabit our mouth. Chewing and saliva break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, which in turn feed the bacteria. The germs do not actually eat your tooth. The bacteria digest the sugars creating and excreting acid. The acid dissolves, or decays, the enamel and the root surface of the tooth forming what is commonly called a cavity. To top it off, the bacteria love living in an acidic environment.

One way to break the cycle is to do what dental professionals have been saying for years, brush your teeth and floss. This breaks up the bacterial colonies and removes them from the tooth surface. Two or three germs will not cause a cavity. But two or three germs can multiply and become organized into a "germ city" in order to create enough acid to do damage to the tooth. So it's important to disturb the colonies and remove as much bacteria as possible as often as possible.

The type of bacteria is the confounding element in the disparity of decay rates between family members. Let's say that there are 10 different germs (out of over 400 different germs that live in the mouth) that cause cavities. If we have two brothers and they both have the same number of germs in their mouths, say 100, the brother with a majority of germs at the top of the list will have more cavities than the brother that has a majority of germs at the bottom. The first brother has a bigger challenge. He must be more meticulous with brushing and flossing and may need to incorporate more complicated dental hygiene measures into his daily care than the second brother. Talk to your dental care professional about fluoride supplements and special mouthwashes.

While it isn't fair that one sibling has this problem and another doesn't, it just proves that each person is his own organism. The brother with more decay may be smarter or have better luck with the ladies. It all eventually evens out.


The Dangers of Ignoring a Cavity/ Tooth Decay

Cavities and tooth decay are so common that you may not take them seriously. And you may think that it doesn't matter if children get cavities in their baby teeth. However, cavities and tooth decay can have serious and lasting complications, even for children who don't have their permanent teeth yet.

Complications may include:


•Tooth abscess

•Pus around a tooth, especially when you press on your gums

•Broken teeth

•Chewing problems

•Positioning shifts of permanent teeth after losing baby teeth prematurely

When cavities and decay become severe, you may have:

•Pain that interferes with daily living, preventing you from going to school or work

•Weight loss or nutrition problems from painful or difficult eating or chewing

•Tooth loss, which may affect your appearance, as well as your confidence and self-esteem

•In rare cases, a tooth abscess that can cause serious or even life-threatening infections

Symptoms of a cavity/decay:

The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:


•Tooth sensitivity

•Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold

•Visible holes or pits in your teeth

•Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth

•Pain when you bite down

By Mayo Clinic Staff –

* Remember that the longer you wait, the bigger the issue becomes (It will just become more uncomfortable, dangerous, timely and costly to repair). Call your dentist right away, if you suspect any problems.  The best preventative is to follow up with your regular cleaning and check-up exams to help pinpoint problems, before they worsen.

Study Explores How Secondhand Smoke May Affect Children's Teeth

A possible link exists between secondhand smoke and caries—or cavities—in children, according to a scientific article published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Authors reviewed 15 high-quality observational studies and discovered that 10 of the studies showed a weak to moderate link between cavities in primary teeth and secondhand smoke. The five other studies showed a weak link between secondhand smoke and permanent teeth.

According to the JADA article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regards cavities as the most prevalent chronic disease in children ages 6 to 11 years and in teens ages 12 to 19 years. A cavity is tooth decay that has destroyed tooth enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of teeth.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aims to reduce the prevalence of cavities in children by 10 percent by 2020. The prevalence of cavities in American children ages 3 to 5 years in 1999–2004 was 33.3 percent, according to Healthy People 2020--an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the health of all Americans. Healthy People determined that the prevalence of cavities in children ages 6 to 9 years was 54.4 percent and 53.7 percent in children 13 to 15 years.

Dentists want to understand the link between human behaviors and the development of cavities, especially as dentistry moves from surgical treatment of caries to prevention and medical management that accounts for a person’s risks toward the disease. Factors for high-cavities risk include low socioeconomic status, a diet high in refined carbohydrates, low fluoride exposure and poor or infrequent oral hygiene.

Secondhand smoke also may prove to be a risk factor, though more research is needed to affirm it as causing cavities.

The American Dental Association has valuable information about cavities on its consumer website, MouthHealthy.org. Click the A-Z Topics section from the home page to access individual topics by alphabet.

 © 2015 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

June 19, 2013
Category: Dental News
Tags: Cavities  
Most of us have had at least one. Some of us have quite a few. So what makes cavities so persistent, keeping more children out of school than any other disease? Usually, the answer is simple: not enough brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist. Snacking on sweets and slurping sodas doesn't help either. But rather than feel guilty, get informed.
Q: What's the difference between tooth decay and tooth cavity?
A: Good question! Most people think tooth decay and tooth cavity are the same thing. But they're not. Tooth decay refers to a gradual process during which bacteria in the mouth produce acids that destroy the surfaces of teeth. Over time, tooth decay can erode enamel to the point that a hole, or cavity, forms.
Q: How do I know if I have cavities?
A: Cavities are one of the first things your dentist looks for during a regular dental exam. X-rays allow your dentist to diagnose whether you have dental cavities and how extensive they are. Sometimes a tooth cavity is visible to the naked eye; if you see black holes in your teeth, those could be signs. Another cavity red flag is a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold food and drinks.
Q: How do dentists treat dental cavities?
A: Treatment depends on the size of the cavity and the degree of damage. Although many dental cavities are treated with fillings, onlays may be necessary to treat large cavities affecting the cusps of teeth, while cavities affecting the areas in between the cusps may be treated with inlays. In some cases, dental crowns are used to protect a tooth from further tooth cavity damage. Dental sealants are often applied to children's teeth as a preventative measure against cavities.
Still have questions about cavities or other dental problems? Your dentist will be happy to answer them during your next checkup.



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