Ever since you were a kid, you’ve probably heard about the importance of good dental hygiene — brushing, flossing, not eating too much sugar (hah! good one!) and making regular trips to the dentist’s office — it all got stuffed into your brain as early as possible. But the truth is, most adults start forgetting about these habits that ensure good oral health, and eventually it becomes more of a hassle to get back into these habits. And that’s exactly why dental decay is one of the top health concerns in the U.S. today. In fact…
- Government data shows that about 29% of American men, between the ages of 35 and 44, have some sort of dental decay; about 25% of all American women in that same age group have dental decay as well. Dental decay is particularly tough to treat, because it can happen very slowly and go unnoticed by the patient until it’s at a very severe level.
- A variety of factors can cause deteriorating dental health, but ultimately the dissolution of tooth enamel is what causes the most damage, and there are plenty of things that cause tooth enamel to wear away. Not flossing and brushing on a regular basis will causes plaque to build up (about 50% of Americans claim they floss their teeth; 18% don’t even bother lying and just flat-out admit that they don’t floss). Eating too many sugary and acidic foods can also cause enamel to wear away, and teeth grinding — something that affects anywhere between five and 20% of Americans today — also harms enamel.
- And finally, even though dental decay is something that builds up over years of poor oral hygiene, it’s also something that can happen quickly with children, because their baby teeth/ new permanent teeth aren’t so resilient. Government research indicates that about one out of every five children in the U.S. have tooth decay that won’t be treated, and dental problems are actually one of the most common reasons that children have to make hospital visits.
So the moral of the story? If you think you start seeing dental decay in your teeth, don’t wait to get it checked out!
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