Caries Management by Risk Assessment: Part V: Making your teeth resistant to cavities

In previous blogs, we discussed how bacteria in our mouths convert the carbohydrates we ingest into acids while corrode the teeth and cause cavities.

Bacteria + Carbohydrate from diet and snacking = acids which melt the teeth causing cavities

What if there was a way to strengthen the teeth against the melting effect of the acid-producing bacteria?  Enter Fluoride.

Topical application of fluoride modifies the surface crystalline structure of our teeth and thus makes the teeth surfaces stronger and resistant to the attack of the acids.

If your Caries Risk Assessment is moderate or high, then fluoride options are recommended.

We have three options to use fluoride:

  1. The most effective way is immediately after a professional dental cleaning and polishing.  The hygienist cleans all deposits on your teeth and polishes the plaque and the thin biofilm that forms within the hour after polishing the teeth. This is the best opportunity to apply fluoride on the cleaned tooth surface.  Studies have shown that the best way is to use fluoride varnish, and not fluoride foam.  Fluoride varnish is a slightly gummy paste applied to the teeth which should be left undisturbed for an hour to obtain the full effect. It is applied by the hygienist after a professional cleaning depending on your caries risk assessment.
  2. The second source of fluoride is in tooth paste. Depending on your caries risk, either an over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste or a prescription toothpaste is indicated. In either case everyone should do the following to obtain maximum benefit from any fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss before you brush to dislodge food and the sticky plaque from in between the teeth thus allowing the fluoride from the toothpaste to hit a clean surface between the teeth.
  • Brush for two minutes, then spit the toothpaste and avoid rinsing the mouth out with water. Avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after brushing.
  1. The third option is to use a mouthwash with fluoride, this is an option to consider if your caries risk assessment recommends it.

At Making You Smile NYC, everyone gets a Caries Risk Assessment to evaluate the risk of future cavities. Book your appointment today.