The Disease Called “Cavities”

CavatiesMost people don’t think of dental cavities as a disease, but it is. The disease is called caries, and it is an infection that leaches the minerals out of your teeth. This de-mineralization allows bacterial growth on the surface of your tooth to work its way into your tooth—and form a cavity.

“For some people, brushing and flossing regularly just isn’t enough to prevent cavities,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “Those people need a more targeted treatment to ensure long-lasting, healthy teeth,” she continues.

Some people have trouble keeping a balance between normal bacteria and disease- causing bacteria. The over-growth of destructive bacteria create an acid environment in the mouth. An acid environment is perfect for decay to take hold on the tooth surface.

What causes an acid environment? A diet high in sugar is one way. Sugar breaks down fast, and creates an acid. Dry mouth is also a big contributor to supporting bacteria. Even worse, the acidic-thriving bacteria can be passed on by an exchange of saliva. Simply put, you can catch cavities by kissing.

There is good news, however. Your dentist can do a simple cavity risk-assessment test and prescribe one of a series of products made my Carifree to change the environment of your mouth. There are gels, sprays, rinses, and wipes, each with a different chemical composition to adjust your mouth’s chemical environment. Continued use reduces the bacterial environment that leads to infection.

“Brushing and flossing treat the symptoms of the infection—ridding the mouth of plaque temporarily,” says Dr. Ford. “But to get at the cause of infection, to see if your mouth has an unhealthy environment, it’s best to have a risk assessment test,” she says.

You don’t have to giving up kissing. But you can talk to your dentist about cavities, particularly if they have been increasing over the last several years. And you can take two easy steps to reduce the amount of acid in your mouth:

  • Limit sugar in your diet. Sugar breaks down to acids quickly, and feeds the bacteria in your mouth.
  • Limit sugar-free products like coffee, tea, and sparkling water. They contain enough acids to make a difference in your mouth’s environment.

“There are new products being developed to help you keep a sparkling smile and healthy teeth for years,” says Dr. Ford, “so talk to your dentist—that’s the best way to get good information.”


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