Caries (Decay) Risk Assessment
Dental caries, more commonly known as tooth decay, can have significant consequences for your oral health. A patient's risk for tooth decay is the result of several factors including genetics, diet, oral hygiene, and environment. The main cause of dental caries, however, is the bacteria found in plaque. The bacteria produce acids as they feed off the sugars and other simple carbohydrates we consume. These acids slowly eat away at the outer layer of our teeth, known as enamel.
If tooth decay is left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the innermost part of our tooth, resulting in an infection. Eventually, tooth loss may occur. There are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of dental caries and prevent these problems. At Everwell Dentistry, we can provide you with the education and services you need to maintain excellent oral health.
The prevalence of dental caries in America had decreased significantly over the last 50 years largely thanks to fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is often found in drinking water and certain foods. If you are at particularly high risk for dental caries, we may recommend professional fluoride treatment.
Every day, the enamel layer of our teeth loses minerals during the process of demineralization. The enamel also gains minerals from certain foods and liquids during the process of remineralization. Unfortunately, the rate of demineralization often exceeds that of remineralization. Professional fluoride treatment can supplement this process, which prevents tooth decay and strengthens the enamel layer. In some cases, fluoride treatment can even reverse minor instances of decay.
Oral Hygiene and DietYour oral hygiene regimen and diet can also have a significant effect on your risk for dental caries. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bed. We also recommend flossing once a day to remove plaque and food debris in between your teeth. Daily Flossing will significantly reduce your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease. For extra protection against dental caries, you may want to consider using an antibacterial mouth rinse.
A balanced diet also plays an important role in your oral health. If you are at a greater risk for dental caries, Dr. Embree may offer dental dietary counselling, such as instructing you to reduce the amount and frequency of your carbohydrate consumption. This includes sugary snacks between meals. The less sugar and carbohydrates you consume, the fewer acids the bacteria will produce. If you find yourself hungry for a snack, try to make it a healthier alternative. Fruits and vegetables are much better for your oral health than cookies, candies, and chips.
Even with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet, most people still need professional dental care. The American Dental Association recommends biannual checkups and professional cleanings. During your checkup, we can assess your risk for dental caries. We can also diagnosis and treatment existing instances of decay, preventing the need for future restorations.
During your professional cleaning, our dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the surfaces of your teeth. In many cases, tartar can only be removed during a professional cleaning. We can also point out areas that need special attention, and review proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Schedule Your AppointmentFind out if you are at risk for dental caries. Call (734) 973-0000 to schedule your appointment now!