Have you ever gotten a dental filling? Fillings are among the most common dental treatments in Houston and throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 91% of adults in the US have cavities. That means if you don’t have a cavity, chances are very high that you know at least nine people that do.
According to the 2011-2012 report by the CDC, adults in the US between the ages of 20 and 64 had cavities. Certain demographics of those adults show increased and decreased prevalence of cavities.
Which Demographics May Need a Dental Filling
In general, untreated tooth decay causes cavities. But people of certain heritages are more likely to get cavities than others.
The CDC found that untreated tooth decay is most common in African Americans at 46% and least common in Asians at 17%. Hispanics are the second highest group at 36% and Caucasians are second lowest at 22%.
But why are certain groups more likely to need a dental filling?
Biology, Sociology, and Lifestyle
There are three major factors when it comes to cavity prevalence: biology, sociology, and lifestytle.
Some people have good genes that resist cavities. It may result in saliva that is more lethal for bacteria, hardy tooth enamel, or a strong immune system. A small number of African Americans lack a particular enzyme in their saliva that kills germs, according to David Silverstrom, DDS.
Pediatric dentist and spokesman for the American Dental Association, Jonathan Shenkin said that “lower socioeconomic groups tend to have greater levels of untreated cavities.” When access to healthcare is limited by class or income, it results in greater prevalence of disease.
Possibly the biggest contributor, a person’s lifestyle greatly affects how likely they are to get cavities. Smokers and people who don’t brush their teeth often are almost certain to get a cavity and need a dental filling at some point. Those who consume a lot of sugar or acidic foods and drinks are also susceptible.
What Should You Do?
The best way to prevent cavities is to be diligent about caring for your teeth. Brush your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes each time. Be sure to floss between teeth and rinse with mouthwash to clean out those difficult spots. Finally, see your Houston dentist twice per year for checkups, and you’re sure to have a smile your whole life!