Did you know?
- Childhood Dental Disease (severe tooth decay) is the #1 chronic disease of childhood.
- Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children in the U.S., and it is 100% preventable.
- 44% of American Children have a cavity before they start kindergarten.
- More than 51 million school hours are lost nationally each year due to tooth decay.
- Tooth pain and infection is the #1 reason for child emergency room visits.
- Approximately 25% of dental decay is untreated amond every age group.
What is a cavity? What is tooth decay?
A cavity is the process of demineralization of a tooth -- it is a disease that creates an acid challenge. There are certain types of bacteria that can infect the mouth producing acids. We also eat and drink many acidic foods and beverasges. When the pH level in the mouth is less than 5.5, the enamel begins to break down, releasing calcium which in turn neutralizes the environment.
White spots on the enamel are the first visible signs of decay, but unfortunately if a cavity starts in between the teeth it can only be detected by an X-ray. Bacteria in the form of plaque (or biofilm) is acid-producing. Meaning, it eats sugars/carbohydrates and creates acid as a byproduct. Some biofilms are more acid-producing than others and we now have the technology to measure that for each individual.
The frequency of sugars you eat keeps these bacteria fed and producing acid, and the increase in sugary beverage consumption (soda, sports drinks, caffeinated beverages) has skyrocketed in the past few decades. In addition, our food supply has become more and more acidic. And unfortunately, the more often you eat or snack -- the worse the acid bath is for your teeth!
Fortunately we do have our own line of defense: Saliva! Saliva is generally basic (neutralizes acid). Good saliva flow causes the reminerlization of cavities by replacing the minerals back into your tooth. Unfortunately, the large majority of medications children and adults are taking these days cause a reduction in saliva flow leading to dry mouth and another opportunities for the acid bath to contiue its destruction.
Caries Risk Assessment Test
We now have sophisticated methods of assessing your child's caries risk, well before it ever eats a hole in their tooth. By measuring the acidity of the biofilm with the carifree meter, and looking at your child's own personal risk factors and disease history, we can actually predict how cavity prone they are and also which treatment options (both non-surgical) may be most appropriate.
Treatment strategies hover around 6 proven remedies:
Food and/or beverage modifications
An antibacterial attack including fluroide and xylitol
A pH neutralization rinse
Xylitol consumption - a sugar proven to reduce the growth and acid producation of caries associatyed bacteria
Calcium phosphate particles that actually re-mineralize beginning cavities
Topical Fluoride (especially varnish) which is both an anti-cavity agent and a remineralizing agent.
We offer complete kits that are easy to use and contain some or all of the therapeutic ingredients personally designed for the individual needs of your child depending on their risk level. With a biofilm test, a dental history and a report of lifestyle risks including diet and medications, we will help you understand your risks and help develop a treatment regime that it tailored just for you.