Dentist Working to Prevent Cavities

POSTED: Monday, September 28, 2009 - 6:56am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:58pm

It may not get as much attention -- but your dental health is vital to your overall well being. Joe Carmen has 32 reasons to avoid the dentist chair. "I think that if dental health starts to slide, you're certainly in for a lot of pain and discomfort as you try to correct it," he said.

In his 56 years, he's only had four cavities. He hopes brushing and flossing everyday can keep it that way, but his dentist says that may not be enough. "There's 400-some different types of bacteria that compose the plaque in your mouth. Some of those cause gum disease, some of them are positive effects, they help with digestion -- and then the others are negative that cause decay," said Dr. Gary Weiss.

Dr. Gary Weiss, a dentist, says some people naturally have higher levels of decay-causing bacteria, making them more prone to cavities. Brushing and flossing may not be enough. The best way to avoid those pits of pain -- prevention.

"The Carifree system is giving us a chance to treat the disease process," said Dr. Weiss. "So we're being a preventative entity than strictly a patch and fix sort of thing."

Weiss has started offering patients the Carifree system -- it's a personal approach to preventing cavities. Weiss swabs inside the patient's mouth to test how much bacteria is present. if there's too much, he'll prescribe a special mouthwash specific to that patient. The rinse keeps bacteria from growing in the mouth. "The rule needs to be impressed on the patient that this has to be something that they have to work with as a common thing, really for the rest of their lives. I would make it akin to a diabetic being treated with insulin," said Dr. Weiss.

Weiss's patients need to rinse with the mouthwash twice a day for one minute. They shouldn't eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward. After a few weeks, the bacteria levels are tested again and should be lower. "They see that they're winning the battle. They know then that they have quantitative, you know a number to look at," said Dr. Weiss.

Jim Carmen has been using Carifree for a few weeks. He's hoping it will keep him out of the dentist chair and away from the drill. "I'm beginning the second half of my life. I hope it's early in the 2nd half but I would like my teeth to last as long as I do," he said.