Our oral environment, as the rest of our body, thrives in a state of homeostatis, or balance. When an imbalance in our oral environment occurs, as risk factors for disease increase, and healthy protective factors decrease, caries (cavities) occur. Dental caries are a communicable disease, and preventing caries requires not only brushing and flossing, but also a comprehensive management of diet, pH balance, saliva, and bacteria. Common risk factors for dental caries include: bacterial biofilm imbalances, dry mouth, medications that effect saliva, diet, home care, oral appliances, tobacco use, and other medical conditions (diabetes, GERD, Sjögren’s Syndrome). To address the root causes of caries, it is of utmost importance to treat bacterial imbalances and modify risk factors. How can this be done?
In addition to regular home care (bacterial removal via brushing, flossing or other methods), and diet management (reducing cariogenic foods, like simple carbohydrates, and drinks, like acidic beverages), the CariFree line of products helps to address the five treatment components to caries management. These include:
- pH Neutralization: Low pH (or a highly acidic environment) damages our enamel, initiating cavity formation. Neutralizing the pH of the mouth reduces the growth and acid production of cavity causing (cariogenic) bacteria, while also supporting healthy “good” bacterial growth. A neutral oral environment also protects our protective enamel integrity. A pH of 7 (neutral) or above is ideal.
- Antimicrobials: High levels of bacterial growth can increase the risk of cariogenic bacterial proliferation. Reducing total bacterial totals reduces cavity risk, especially by reducing demineralization cause by bacterial acid production.
- Fluoride: Fluoride is a primary component in the remineralization (hardening and strengthening) of the enamel, and reduces the acid production of cariogenic bacteria. It can reverse early cavities and prevent new damage from forming.
- Xylitol: Xylitol reduces growth and colony formation of cavity causing bacteria, while neutralizing oral pH by reducing acid production. It also stimulates saliva flow, which rinses bacterial colonies away, buffers pH, and brings remineralizing minerals to the tooth surface.
- Nano Calcium Hydroxyapatite: This material is one of the mineral components of our teeth, making up 90% of tooth enamel. This mineral is made up of calcium, phosphorous, and oxygen. Adding Ca PO4 into the oral environment has been shown to harden enamel and reverse damaged areas.
CariFree products can help to balance your oral environment and reduce your cavity risk. To find your best plan for cavity treatment and prevention, based on an assessment of your risk factors, it is best to see your dental professional here at SoundBridge Dental Arts. Give us a call at 253-857-4114 to schedule your check up today!
— Alexa, your friendly neighborhood hygienist!