Caries or tooth decay is a bacterial infection of your tooth. It is a disease. It is the most common disease on the planet. Everyone has colonies of bacteria in their mouths. There are ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. These colonies are in constant equilibrium with each other, i.e. one cancels the other out and you remain with a healthy mouth. But if you get infected with high numbers of several types of bacteria, the main ones being Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli the balance is upset and you then get tooth decay in your mouth. The result of this is a hole in your tooth.
It is a transmissible disease. Consider this; if you lived in a bubble from a baby you would never get tooth decay, i.e. you’d never have the contact with anyone to be infected. This means that the bacteria responsible for tooth decay or disease jumps from host to host via contact. Examples include food or utensil sharing, and kissing. This is why you may have heard of or are in a family which has ‘bad or weak teeth’, the bacteria are transmitted from one family member to another through contact and as a result that family has a high tooth decay rate all the way from the grandparents to the toddlers.
Traditionally it was thought that high carbohydrate diet (sugars) was the culprit for causing tooth decay. This is true in part. Sugar is a high-energy food.
When in your mouth the bacteria on your mouth can feed on it, and well… they go into hyper drive. As a result cavities form frequently. But you need the bacteria in your mouth first.
How do we treat this infection then? Well once the bacteria dissolve and eat away enough of the internal minerals and structure of the teeth the outer surface collapses in and you get a hole. This is then treated with a drill, laser or air abrasion and a filling is placed. This is in effect treating the end result and not the cause of the disease.
What’s to stop the bacteria that have now colonized your mouth to start work on your other teeth, or start on what’s remains of the tooth after the filling? Absolutely nothing and the reality is they already have. If left this bacteria will eventually cause more holes in your other teeth and you’ll be back for another filling, does this sound familiar? This process can take months or even years. We now offer a simple painless way of killing the bacteria. This treatment is called C.A.M.B.R.A. (caries management by risk assessment). You have 1 main appointment and several follow up ones. It involves a fun questionnaire and there are several painless tests. Then by using applications of mouth washes we first kill the bacteria and then promote the regrowth of the good guys. We can also repair the early disease to your teeth providing there are no cavitations with topical and rinsable applications of medicament’s thus preventing holes.