How Many People Have Cavities? Billions Worldwide

If you’ve ever had a cavity, or are suffering from one now, you’re not alone. In the United States alone, over 90% of adults aged 65 and older have experienced at least one permanent cavity in their adult teeth. According to a report published in the Journal Dental of Research, tooth decay is also the most common disease across the globe, affecting approximately 35% of the world’s population.

Dental Health Across the Globe

As part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study, Professor Wagner Marcenes of Queen Mary, University of London, led an international research team in investigating oral health across the globe. The team reported that untreated oral health issues, including gum disease and major tooth decay, affect nearly 3.9 billion people—over half of the world’s entire population. Of the 291 major diseases assessed by the GBD 2010 study, tooth decay was the most dominant. Professor Marcenes and his teamed stressed that the findings don’t include minor cavities or mild gum disease, which would significantly increase the number of reported cases.

Hygiene vs. Cavities

Given its prevalence, you might think cavities were inevitable, or at least difficult to prevent. The truth, however, is that tooth decay, gum disease, and most oral health issues are highly-preventable with good hygiene and routine maintenance. Brushing and flossing your teeth helps control the dental plaque that contains cavity-causing bacteria, and six-month dental checkups and cleanings allow Dr. Wright to inspect your teeth for signs of decay. Even if tooth decay develops, early detection and treatment can prevent the issue from irreversibly damaging your tooth.

The Danger of Untreated Tooth Decay

The problem with tooth decay is that it’s progressive. The longer it’s left untreated, the more of your tooth the infection will consume. If it reaches the nerves and blood vessels at the center of your tooth, the decay can kill the living tissues and spread through the roots to the gums and jawbone surrounding the tooth. Extremely infected teeth may require extraction to preserve the rest of your oral health, but a dental filling or root canal therapy can save most teeth from moderate to severe decay.

About Your Southlake Dentist:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.