Last time I discussed tooth decay (or caries) and listed some of the factors involved in the causes and progression of this most common of oral diseases. Yes, getting cavities is a disease, one that must be controlled and eliminated if you want to cure it. Essentially the disease of caries is a chronic bacterial infection of tooth structure, one that antibiotics alone cannot cure. I’ve already talked about oral hygiene and diet in the pathology of this disease so let’s move on to the next factors.
Some of these factors involved in the disease of dental decay may or may not be able to be controlled, depending on the situation. Oral microbial populations are a factor that for problematic cases needs extra help in managing. What I mean by that is brushing and flossing alone will not eliminate the problem of bacteria. If the predominant species of bacteria populating one’s mouth are cavity-causing organisms, then elimination of these bacteria from the mouth becomes essential to reducing one’s risk for dental decay. The only way to do this is to use a very strong antibacterial mouthwash twice daily for a minimum of two or three months. A mouth wash that can be used and purchased online to accomplish this is called CTx4 treatment rinse from Carifree. There are many products that this company makes and sells to help people with cavities and I recommend checking out their website.
Other factors mentioned earlier are saliva quality/quantity. Sometimes this can be controlled and sometimes not. As people age their saliva production drops. This is why the geriatric population tends to suffer from a higher incidence of decay on the root surfaces of teeth. Saliva provides the minerals that buffer acids and aids in the remineralization of teeth. Many things affect saliva negatively. Smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco products reduce saliva output. Many prescription medications do the same. It is important to discuss this with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine that does not cause xerostomia or dry mouth. Now that many parts of the country have legalized marijuana many people who smoke this substance are experiencing dry mouth. Sometimes the effect is so dramatic it is called “cotton mouth” because the only thing coming out of you when you try and spit are little puffballs of saliva.
One last factor that I would like to mention is genetic predisposition. Obviously, this is something that is out of one’s control and currently, there is no way that I know of to change this. There is a specific family of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases. If one has a certain genotype of this enzyme then they are more susceptible to dental decay than people without that genotype.
I hope that this information is useful in your quest for a healthy mouth.