By Susan Braden
Usually, when a person thinks of cavities, they think back to childhood memories of going to the dentist and finding out for the first time that they have a cavity. In reality, any person of any age can develop cavities. Usually children are more prone to cavities because the enamel of their teeth is still forming. However, as the average lifespan lengthens in America, and because the beverages of our choice are often laden with sugar and acid, our adults are developing increasing problems due to decay.
In the light of these increasing problems, more and more people are seeking to find more affordable dental care. Although low cost oral care can prove to be elusive, there is some new technology on the horizon which could help patients cut down dentistry bills in the near future.
Traditionally, dentists have used fluoride as a protective coating on your teeth. Fluoride is normally administered as a polish at the dentist’s office right after a routine cleaning. It helps protect and strengthen teeth, in order to prevent decay and cavities.
Fluoride is also added to most public water systems, so people may be strengthening their teeth every time they drink tap water. It is also added to many over-the-counter toothpastes and mouthwashes. In years past, the application of this substance has been one of the best ways to prevent cavities.
Fluoride does have its limitations. Unfortunately, it does not stay on your teeth for very long. Ideally, it should be applied regularly in order to protect your teeth long-term.
Now, scientists are on the verge of releasing a new coating which may make fluoride obsolete and lead to more affordable dental care in the near future. The new coating uses a strong concentration of chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine protects better than traditional fluoride, and when applied to teeth as a polish, it slowly releases over a period of about 6 months. These properties indicate that a protective chlorhexidine barrier would not only be stronger, but would also last longer than current fluoride applications.
Just like traditional fluoride, the chlorhexidine can also be added to mouthwashes and toothpastes. This protective substance may soon be easily applied every time a person brushes their teeth! Chlorhexidine-enhanced products have the potential to protect your teeth long-term through consistent preventative care, perhaps leading to stronger teeth and less cavities.
Currently, chlorhexidine is not yet available at most dentist offices. The new coating will probably be made more available in the near future, but there are various tests still being performed. Although this new coating may one day replace traditional fluoride, it is important to continue to use fluoride in the meantime. Using fluoridated water, toothpaste, and mouthwash is far better than using nothing at all.
If you have further questions about the new treatment or when it may be available in your area, ask your dentist. Dentists want to have the most recent technology in their offices, and should be able to answer your questions about cavity prevention. Still, for the future of more affordable dental care, this new coating appears to be a great way to prevent cavities.