The holy grail of dentistry has never been the discovery of better ways to repair damage to patients’ teeth caused by trauma or decay. Rather it has been to find a way to prevent the development of cavities and the occurrence of damage, to begin with. While every new advance that can reverse damage is celebrated, it’s the discoveries that produce hope that cavities can be eliminated entirely that bring the greatest shouts of excitement. Recent developments have shown that this holy grail may not be a pipe dream and that the elimination of decay and gum disease may be an achievable goal.
So We Can Put A Stop To Cavities?
Not yet, unfortunately, but there are possibilities on the table that may reveal the way ahead. The first thing to understand about the complexity of this goal is that our mouths are full of healthy bacteria alongside those responsible for plaque. Presently any technique used to eliminate the bad bacteria is going to take the good bacteria along with it. This is far from ideal and can actually lead to conditions like thrush.
With 700 species of bacteria in our mouth, some of which we rely on for optimum health, how is it possible to only eliminate those that are problematic and cause decay? Or is this even necessary? Could there be a way to prevent cavities without having to eliminate the responsible bacteria?
A New Way Forward
Research done by a team led by Dr. Pesavento revealed that there was a way to prevent the growth of plaque and the advancement of decay without directly attacking the responsible bacteria. The technique created an environment in which biofilm growth was significantly reduced by using a cerium oxide nanoparticle solution. Silver nitrate was a previous candidate for this kind of approach, but it simply wasn’t effective enough to be used as a meaningful deterrent to dental decay. The 40% reduction in biofilm production using the cerium oxide nanoparticle solution indicates that greater achievements may be possible. While it hasn’t yet entered the mainstream marketplace as a dental treatment solution, research continues to improve and explain the found results.
Another innovation that has provided hope for orthodontic patients is a special form of cement for holding braces to the teeth. This adhesive has inherent anti-bacterial properties and releases a substance that actually helps reinforce the basic structures of your teeth. Like the solution mentioned above, it won’t completely eliminate your risk of dental decay, but it’s an important weapon in your dentist’s arsenal.
Until more technology like this becomes refined enough to enter the mainstream, and complete elimination of dental decay is possible, dental hygiene remains the most effective way of protecting your teeth. This includes regular trips to see your dentist for check-ups, daily brushing and flossing, and using mouthwash to round it all out. Want more tips? Call Dr. Jonathan McCartney at McCartney Dental in North Port, FL, and schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure you’re getting the dental care you need to maintain a beautiful smile for a lifetime.