New way to fight cavities

May 7, 2010 3:29:14 PM PDT
We all brushing our teeth and eating right helps prevent cavities. But what if that's not enough? Some local dentists now have a new way to fight the cavities.

Beverly Prince has always taken good care of her teeth, but admits she had "quite a few cavities" when she was younger.

And those cavities continued into adulthood.

Dr. Jerald Matt says patients like Beverly used to baffle dentists.

"No matter what they do, they stop drinking soda, they're coming in regularly, they're brushing, they're flossing, and everything, but they still seem to get cavities," Dr. Matt said.

Now, dentists know that some people have too little good bacteria, and too much of the bad or acidic variety in their mouths.

"They're like weeds. They kill off the grass, which is the good bacteria," Dr. Matt said.

That acidic biofilm eats into tooth enamel, causing cavities.

To find out how much bacteria is in there, Dr. Matt swabs and tests the saliva and plaque.

Last year, Beverly had very high levels of the bad bacteria.

So to bring it down, he recommended CariFree, a system of bacteria-busting rinses.

The first, a treatment rinse, is used twice a day for a month

"That's basically where you're nuking the bad bacteria," Dr. Matt said.

The second rinse, to encourage the good bacteria, is used once a day, indefinitely.

The latest test shows the system is working.

One of the key ingredients in CariFree is xylitol, which is also found in some chewing gum. It's been shown to kill cavity-causing bacteria.

CariFree is approved for both kids and adults.