There are multiple conditions that can make a person more susceptible to tooth decay. Tooth decay is an infection of the teeth. The cause of the actual destructive process is bacteria and the acids they produce. Most people can treat tooth decay by having the localized area of decay (where the bacteria have caused a cavity in the tooth) removed and placing a filling to replace the damaged tooth. However, some people, when faced with multiple areas of decay, need more therapy to truly treat decay and stop its progression. These therapies are designed to rid your mouth of as much bacteria as possible and make your teeth less susceptible to the bacteria’s acid.
For people with a higher susceptibility to tooth decay, these therapies are advised:
1. Discussion and evaluation of factors that are contributing to the tooth decay problem-for example: smoking, diets high in sugar/starches (soda pop, snacks throughout the day), medications, drug use. Identifying and controlling such factors is a must.
2. Removal of decay and placing either permanent or interim fillings in teeth.
3. Brush and floss thoroughly 2 x/day, an electric toothbrush can be very helpful.
4. Use of a prescription mouth rinse (Chlorihexidine)- 1 week on, 3 weeks off-indefinitely.
5. Use of a Flouride or gel (Prevident)- 1 x/day in the evening- can use trays or brush.
6. Use of a Remineralizing paste (MI Paste)- 1 x/day in the morning- can use trays or brush.
7. Use of Xylitol gum (Biotene/Omni-over-the-counter)-after meals during the day.
8. Use of a Fluoride varnish (Duraphat)-2 x/ year at your dental check-up appointments.
The use of these products, improvement in plaque removal, and a control of environmental factors like diet will give you the best chance at restoring your dental health. Doing as little as possible as opposed to as much as possible is likely to lead to continued problems. However, with continued maintenance and professional care, the condition of rampant tooth decay can be controlled.