Facts about Dental Caries (decay)
Cavities are the de-mineralized areas, or holes, that form in teeth as a result of a bacterial infection, this decay is also known as dental caries. The infection takes place when acid-producing bacteria replace the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth.
Two main things are responsible for this shift in bacteria:
- Prolonged acidic (low pH) environment in the mouth: made worse by a lack of saliva, or a sugary/acidic diet that favors acid-producing bacteria
- Transmission: dental decay can be passed from person to person through exchange of saliva.
PREVENTION VS REPAIR
‘Drilling and filling’ has been the traditional method of treating cavities, but it doesn’t treat the bacterial infection, just the symptoms. Brushing and flossing have been the usual method of prevention, but they do not change the pH (acidity) of the mouth or treat the infection once it is there.
Here at Smile Design Dental Practice we try to be at the forefront of dental technology and have made available several products that treat the cause of decay rather than wait until the damage is done – preventing rather than repairing tooth decay. So for less than the cost of one new filling you can reduce your risk of needing more fillings in the future.
What can you do to stop getting decay?
If you have a high risk of getting further decay there are several things you can do and several treatments we can offer:
- Try to limit both your intake of sugary/carbohydrate containing items in your diet, also reduce non-sugar containing acidic beverages (i.e. fizzy drinks, coffee, tea, sparkling water, and alcohol) especially betweenmeals.
- Consider the acidity (pH) of the dental products you are using. The latest mouth rinses now available at reception can neutralize the acid (decay) causing bacteria.
- Fluoride in toothpaste is important, to remineralize (repair the damage done by decay) your enamel and make it stronger. Toothpastes with a higher concentration of fluoride are available at reception for anyone over10 years of age.
- Chew Xylitol chewing gum (or use Xylitol containing gums, mints, rinses, or toothpastes) after and between meals. Xylitol is a very effective at limiting the acid produced by bacteria, and it makes fluoride more effective.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar that is commonly found in birch tree sap and naturally occurs in some fruits and vegetables. Xylitol works to prevent cavities in a number of ways:
- Bacteria cannot break down Xylitol into acid as they do from all other sugars
- Xylitol helps prevent the bacteria from sticking to the tooth enamel, which prevents them from breeding.
- Xylitol, used with fluoride, can be more effective at repairing the damage done to teeth from decay than fluoride alone.
- Xylitol actually works to control the number of acid-producing bacteria in the mouth, which can in turn prevent cavities, and is available in many forms; from gums and mints to toothpastes and mouth rinses.
What treatments can we offer to stop you getting decay
- Remove decay and fill the affected teeth
- Apply fissure sealants (clear plastic coatings) on vulnerable teeth
- Apply Fluoride Varnish where indicated (this is especially effective for children)
The CariFree Treatment System
- CariFree Treatment Rinse (twice a day for 1 month)
- CariFree Maintenance Rinse, higher concentration Fluoride Toothpaste, CariFree Toothpaste, Xylitol chewing gum
What is the CariFree Treatment Rinse?
CariFree Treatment Rinse is designed to treat the cavity-causing plaque bacteria biofilm, reduce the overpopulation of cavity-causing bacteria, and neutralize decay-causing acids. It contains both Xylitol and Fluoride. It also freshens breath. It can be used by anyone over 10 for 1 month.
What is the CariFree Maintenance Rinse?
CariFree Maintenance Rinse is designed to be used following the Treatment Rinse. It promotes healthy bacterial growth and limits the growth of decay-causing strains. It is alcohol free and again combines fluoride and xylitol to neutralize cavity-causing acids. It is non-staining, does not alter taste and contains green tea and cranberry extracts.
For more information contact the practice on 01296 624163 or go to: www.carifree.com