Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren take more hours of continuing education than most dentists in the world. Their commitment to lifelong learning is for your benefit. They believe that by staying current on the latest technological advancements, the newest dental materials, and the best dental products, they can provide their patients with the very best dental care.
Despite all of these advances, we have the same dental problems today that we had hundreds of years ago: cavities and gum disease. This week’s blog will focus on the problem of cavities and a new product we are offering to help our patients with that problem.
What are Cavities?
Called “caries” by dental professionals, cavities are bacterial infections in the hard structure of a tooth. Not all bacteria is bad! A healthy mouth contains a good mix of bacteria. Cavities are caused by bad bacteria. These bacteria accumulate on the teeth in the form of sticky plaque, digest carbohydrates (sugars), and create a strong acid as a by-product.
Just like acid can soften and etch glass, it can weaken and damage tooth enamel. Enamel is the hardest structure in the human body, harder even than bone! But it is not impervious to acid.
Cavities develop when a concentrated area of acid-producing bacteria remains on the tooth for an extended period of time. As the acid softens the enamel, the bacteria slowly work their way into the tooth, leaving soft, mushy decayed tooth structure behind. Eventually, the softened tooth structure will dissolve or break out of the tooth, leaving a hole (or a “cavity”).
How Do CariFree Products Work?
CariFree is a unique line of oral hygiene products aimed at stopping cavities before they start. The ingredients of CariFree work on three different aspects of the cavity process.
1. Bacteria – CariFree contains ingredients that eliminate the bad, cavity-causing bacteria. Controlling the amount of bacteria in the mouth lowers the risk for cavities.
2. Acid – Certain ingredients in CariFree are responsible for maintaining a neutral pH in the mouth, thus fighting the acid produced by the bad bacteria. Keeping a healthy pH in the mouth is an important step in preventing cavities.
3. Enamel – Several ingredients in CariFree work to strengthen the enamel. They make the enamel harder and more resistant to damage from acid.
By reducing bacteria, neutralizing pH, and strengthening enamel, CariFree products give you the best chance of stopping cavities before they start!
What are the Ingredients in CariFree Products?
• Fluoride – Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral used for decades to make enamel stronger. In many areas, fluoride is added to the community water supply to give everyone the benefit of stronger enamel. Many people do not get enough fluoride, whether it’s from living in a town with no water fluoridation or choosing to drink only bottled or reverse osmosis filtered water. A lack of fluoride often leads to an increase in cavities.
• Xylitol – Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol found in plants. It is a wonderful sweetener to use in place of sugar or honey. Cavity-causing bacteria eat xylitol just like regular sugar, but they cannot digest it. Not only does it not produce the acid by-product; it kills the bacteria.
• Nano-hydroxyapatite – This is a new one for us Americans! This ingredient is commonly found in toothpastes available in Japan and Canada. Hydroxyapatite is the mineral that makes up the hard structure of enamel. Researchers have found that a tooth can absorb bioavailable nano-(meaning really really tiny)hydroxyapatite into existing enamel. This makes enamel harder and less susceptible to attacks from acid.
• pH – The patented high-pH technology of the CariFree products keeps the mouth at a neutral pH. Bacteria proliferate in an acidic environment. If your mouth is acidic due to a lack of saliva or an acidic beverage habit, you are making it easier for those bacteria to cause cavities. CariFree products neutralize that acid, making it more difficult for bacteria to cause cavities.
Who Needs CariFree Products?
The oral health benefits of the CariFree line make it a great choice for anyone! There are particular groups of people who will actually change their dental future by using CariFree.
• High incidence of cavities – This simply means patients who currently have or frequently develop cavities. Active decay always puts you at a higher risk for more cavities.
• A lot of existing dental work – The fact that you have already had a lot of dental work puts you at high risk for cavities. The edges of fillings and dental crowns are perfect attachment sites for more bacteria. You are more likely to get cavities near existing dental work than on a solid, healthy tooth!
• Dry mouth – If you suffer from dry mouth, no matter the cause, you are at a high risk for developing cavities. Saliva is a natural cavity fighter. Without it, our teeth and gums have more plaque and bacteria buildup, our mouth has a more acidic pH, and cavities will grow more quickly.
• High sugar diet – Most people know that sugar can cause cavities. If you have a high sugar diet or just eat lots of simple carbs like chips and crackers, and you choose not to alter your diet, you should use some great cavity-fighting products like CariFree.
• Acidic beverage habit – This is a popular one nowadays. Many people avoid sodas and juice due to their high sugar content. They substitute drinks like Sparkling water or zero calorie sports drinks, not realizing the acidity in these sugar-free drinks also makes them dangerous to teeth. Sipping on acidic drinks throughout the day leads to a consistently low pH in your mouth, which makes it easier for bacteria to cause cavities. Neutralizing the pH is important to prevent them.
• Physical handicaps – Patients with difficulty cleaning their teeth greatly benefit from a regimen of CariFree! These products help fight the damaging effects of plaque buildup between dental cleanings. If you are unable to brush and floss well due to a physical difficulty like rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson’s disease, CariFree products lower the risk of developing new cavities.
Are You Interested in CariFree Products to Lower Your Risk for Cavities?
Contact Designer Smiles today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren. They will assess your specific cavity risk and help you determine which products will keep your mouth the healthiest!