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What do Laternflies and Cavities Have in Common?

Pennsylvania was first invaded by the spotted lanternflies in 2014. The spotted lanternflies are indigenous to China, India and Vietnam. Here are three things that spotted lanternflies and cavities have in common.

1. They are annoying: You could be sitting outside enjoying a nice picnic with your family/friends and while you are enjoying your meal, BAM, it hits you like a bus. Yes the spotted lantern fly is obnoxious and so is that cavity. Luckily, tooth pain from cavities is preventable. Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day and see your dentist regularly.

2. They multiply rapidly: The spotted lantern bug is black and white and spotted in the early nymph stage and easy to catch. As they get bigger they get stronger and much harder to squash and may require a professional to help control the growing population. If left untreated, the spotted lanternflies will destroy a lot of Pennsylvania’s agriculture. Same with plaque, the bacteria laden biofilm that builds up onto your teeth. It starts to appear on your teeth within hours of eating from the food particles that are left behind. Without proper brushing, the plaque continues to build up. Eventually it turns into calculus (or you can call it tartar), and at that point you need a dental professional’s help to remove it. If left untreated, calculus can lead to gum disease and cavities. In addition to getting your cleanings every 6 months, you can maintain the plaque free environment with daily brushing.

3. They both like sweets! Spotted lanternflies are attracted to fruit trees and go right for the tree sap. When spotted lanternflies feed on sap, they excrete “honeydew”, which is a sugary substance that encourages the growth of black sooty mold. Although this mold is harmless to people, it can damage plants. Just like the plaque is harmless to spotted lanternflies, the plaque is however damaging to human teeth! Sugary sweets feed the bacteria in the plaque and causes it to produce acid which in turn breaks down our enamel, leading to the painful cavity.

There you have it. I don’t know which one is more annoying, but that is up to you to decide. Either way, control these bugs on our trees and in our mouths. If this article doesn’t make you run to get your toothbrush, I’m not sure what will!

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