Caries Risk Assessment
Cavities are caused by a bacterial infection known in the dental profession as “caries”. This infection is not only treatable, but preventable. In our office, we offer caries management by risk assessment, using the CariFree system, to help prevent the caries infection.
Cavities are the demineralized areas, or the holes, that form in teeth as a result of the caries infection. This infection takes place when the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth are replaced by acid-producing bacteria. This shift in bacteria is primarily caused by two things:
- Prolonged acidic oral environment: contributing factors include a lack of saliva, and/or a sugary/acidic diet that favors acid-producing bacteria.
- Transmission: this infection is contagious! You can be infected by someone through the exchange of saliva.
“How can I treat dental caries and prevent cavities?”
- We can perform a caries risk assessment, where we evaluate whether you have factors present that put you at risk for decay. This includes a simple swab examination allows us to assess your risk based on the presence of a bacterial infection, dental caries.
- Have regularly scheduled professional cleanings and exams, and perform daily brushing and flossing at home.
- Limit not only sugary/carbohydrate containing items in your diet, but also non-sugar containing acidic beverages (diet soda, coffee, tea, sparkling water, alcohol).
- Consider the acidity (pH) of the dental products you are using. Do they neutralize your mouth? Know your pH. Don’t just brush and floss… neutralize!
- Xylitol is a natural, non-sugar, sweetener. It is very effective agent for limiting the acids produced by bacteria and comes in a variety of gums, wipes, toothpastes, rinses, etc. You can purchase pure xylitol to use in cooking and baking at many natural food stores. Be careful! Xylitol can have a laxative effect when consumed to excess!
- Using products with xylitol and an alkaline pH, in conjunction with fluoride, may be the best preventive method.
- Keep the pH in your mouth neutral especially after eating.
To prevent cavities, you must create an oral environment that makes it difficult for infectious cavity-causing bacteria to survive. Brushing and flossing alone may not be enough to prevent decay. In our office we offer CariFree products, which contain fluoride, xylitol, and have an alkaline pH+, and can help you stop the infection.
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