Tooth decay — how to assess your risk.
Tooth decay (dental caries) is so common that every nine out of ten Americans have it. However, modern dentistry has developed advanced techniques to counter its spread. Contrary to the traditional technique of “drilling and filling” dentists now prefer a personalized Caries Management by Risk Management (CAMBRA) which is much more cost effective.
Dental decay — a dynamic infectious disease process.
Your mouth is like an ecosystem consisting of the teeth, gums, saliva, plaque and naturally present bacteria. Your teeth are protected by enamel which is rich in crystalline minerals, chiefly calcium and phosphates. Saliva is also rich in these. Under normal conditions a balanced two way transfer process continues – minerals escape from the enamel to saliva and an equal amount enters the enamel from the saliva.
Unfortunately certain bacteria which thrive on the plaque use remnants of carbohydrates and sugary food on your teeth to produce acid. Acidic environment tends weaken to upset the balanced two way movement of minerals and reduces the minerals in the enamel, weakening it and opening the doors to caries.
Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). New tools of the trade.
Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA) involves assessing the risk factors for an individual and using the result to take preventive measures. Risk assessment is done using:
- Tooth decay risk assessment evaluation form – is a questionnaire filled by your dentist after asking you relevant questions. Your answers help the dentist assess your risk for tooth decay. The form is different for adults than for ages up to five years.
- Disease Indicators are cavities that may be visible with the naked eye, or may be microscopic ones detectable in an x-ray. White spots are early signs of decay. Cavities within the last three years add to your risk profile.
Why I? Individualizing risk assessment of caries.
Varied effects of caries are observed on each individual depending on their genetics and habits. Featherstone introduced the concept of Caries Balance. Tooth decay (caries) and dental health in general are the consequence of a balance between disease causing factors and health promoting factors. Each person has his individual balance, which may keep changing. The trick is to detect an imbalance as soon as one occurs and to correct it towards health.
Risk factors of tooth decay.
Risk factors are circumstances which increase possibility of disease. They may include:
- Visible plaque.
- Inadequate saliva flow (dry mouth).
- Certain medications thatcan cause mouth dryness and in addition.
- Diseases that reduce saliva production, or cause gastric acidity.
- Eating habits (frequent snacking, excess sugars, carbohydrates, and acidic foods).
- Retainers, orthdontic appliances, and bite or night guards reduce saliva and make cleaning difficult.
- Deep “pits and fissures”.
- Acidic beverages.
Testing the plaque for acid producing bacteria is easy using special testers. Repeated tests will show progress.
Tooth decay prevention.
Preventive measures include:
- Traditional things i.e., good oral hygiene.
- Rinses with dilute sodium hypochlorite or similar solutions.
- Fluoride treatment and fluoride intake adjustment.
- Use of xylitol (available in gum, spray, or rinse form).
- Use of saliva flow enhancers.
Final word about tooth decay.
Cooperate with your dentist and you can markedly reduce chances of having a dental disease. If you are looking for a good dentist who is expert in this new methodology, and you are living in Gainesville, Florida, your best bet is Paivi Samant, DDS at Smart Smile Dentistry who also offers full range of dental services including prevention, restorative, prosthetic, cosmetic dentistry and dental implants.
Contact our dentists in Gainesville, FL
At Smart Smile Dentistry, we would love to see you at our dental office! Visit us today and start enjoying a healthy and joyous life.