Dental decay is an epidemic that can kill.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk of developing it.
And with no cure, tooth decay can lead to a range of health issues, including:* A decreased chance of bone density, bone fractures, and loss of teeth.* A decreased likelihood of gum disease* An increased risk of tooth decay on the gums and gums lining the mouth.* An increased chance of developing cavities and tooth loss* A weakened immune system, which can make it more susceptible to infections, including tooth decay.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently more than 5.2 million new cases of dental decay each year.
That means every year, about 1.5 million Americans are living with the condition.
In addition, some experts say it’s one of the top causes of preventable deaths in the United States.
Dr. David Haggerty, an associate professor of preventive medicine at New York University, said in a statement, “These are important statistics, and they provide a good window into the current situation.”
Haggerty said people with oral disease can lose their ability to swallow or the ability to hold it in.
That causes tooth decay, which ultimately affects both the jaw and the rest of the body.
He said that can lead people to lose weight, have chronic conditions like diabetes, and develop more infections.
“There are all sorts of other health consequences that come with it,” he said.
“Dental decay has been known to cause a variety of health problems.
There’s inflammation, which affects the lining of the mouth and the teeth, which increases the risk of dental erosion,” Haggerity said.
He said the rate of dental disease can be related to a variety, from genetic to environmental factors.
“It’s not something that you can control.
You can make sure that you are eating a healthy diet, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing,” he added.
But there is one piece of advice for people living with dental disease: Stay hydrated.
HaggerTY said it’s important to keep brushing your teeth regularly to keep your teeth healthy and soft.
And he says to take time to rest your jaw muscles after every meal to allow them to heal.
“When you eat a healthy, nutritious diet, your jaw can be able to rest and heal and it can also take care of itself,” he explained.
“And there’s also a lot of research out there that shows that you may actually be able make tooth decay go away.”ABC News’ Elizabeth Loomis contributed to this report.