Did you know that one in every five Americans has an untreated cavity? According to data gathered and analyzed from 2011-2012 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, this is the case.*

The numbers are broken down as follows:

  • 17.5% of children aged 5-19 have untreated cavities.
  • 27.4% of adults aged 20-44 have untreated cavities.

Based on the results alone, adults suffered the worst. Most likely due to the fact that most adults would rather provide dental care to their own children than themselves. If this is the case, we acknowledge the fact that this would be an admirable play, however you should never ignore untreated cavities and we’ll tell you why.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Untreated Cavities

Cavities set the foundation of tooth decay leading to pain, infection, and tooth loss.

Our mouth is in a constant state of battle with the millions of microscopic bacteria roaming around. These bacteria feed on the foods we consume. Sugar is one the largest culprits that bacteria feed off of, hence why dentists steer you away from it… especially children who all victim to this more so than adults.

When bacteria have something to feed on such as a particle of food sitting in your mouth overnight, it begins to attack the enamel of the tooth. When it’s left untreated (i.e. not brushing or flossing), it begins to attack the dentin. At this point, you may experience pain such as a toothache in which case your dentist will quickly spot this on an x-ray and recommend a dental filling to prevent further spread of the bacteria.

When the cavity is not addressed, it continues from the dentin into the nerves and blood vessels where the pain will increase. At this point a root canal with dental crown is needed.

In worst cases, the pulp becomes infected causing severe pain and swelling – leading to tooth extraction as the only option. These procedures are more costly than a dental filling.

Unfortunately, the bacteria from one tooth can spread to another tooth and begin attacking the newer tooth. Does this sound like a vicious cycle? That’s because it is – unless you address the cavities with a dental filling of your choice.

Fortunately, cavities are easily preventable. There’s no secret to it, either. Just your normal brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist twice yearly is all that is required for cavity control. By stopping cavities from spreading, you also stop other major problems from arising. So do yourself a favor and either prevent cavities from occurring or treat the ones you currently have.

*Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/dental.htm