Patient Caries Control
Patients who frequently experience caries lesions (cavities) or have high levels of plaque evident at their routine examinations need to spend more time tending to their oral hygiene. Dr. Clark will ask such patients to follow specific measures to get their plaque and tooth decay under control. These include:
- Brush your teeth for 6 to IO minutes a day. Use a timer if necessary. You should only use a soft bristle brush and do not brush too hard. Even a soft brush can injure your teeth if too much pressure is applied.
- Floss daily. If you do not floss, than there are germs in between your teeth that are only removed by your dentist at your dental cleanings, every three to six months (YUCK!).
- Cut down your sugar intake. Try to steer clear of hard candy or any candy that stays in your mouth for more than a minute. Never chew gum that contains sugar. Gum chewing is a major contributing factor to adolescent decay. If you must chew gum, make sure it is sugarless.
- Dr. Clark may want you to use a fluoride gel or rinse before you go to bed at night. Gel-Kam, Provident or any generic gel should be brushed on last thing before bedtime, so that the teeth can absorb the fluoride while you are sleeping. Be sure to spit out any excess after brushing it on but do not rinse, eat, or drink anything thereafter.
- Fluoride rinses, which are used at home such as Act and Florigard, are also beneficial. The more a patient rinses, the greater the effect (remineralization) after the infection is under control.
- Use sugarless gum and candy that is primarily sweetened with Xylitol several times a day. Decay causing bacteria will deplete themselves trying to metabolize Xylitol even though it is indigestible to them, thus killing themselves and riding your mouth of them in the process. Several examples of these products are Smint mints, Trident Advantage gum, Ford Extreme gum, etc...
- If following these instructions does not improve the level of caries or if following the instructions is just too difficult, Dr. Clark may request that you come in to the office at three-month intervals to have a fluoride-varnish treatment.
With your cooperation we can help you eliminate decay causing infections in your mouth and improve your life-long oral hygiene. These simple tasks can save you an enormous amount of time, money, pain and misery in the long run.
Dr. Guy C. Clark