If you’re about my age, you may remember the old toothpaste commercial where the kid declared, “Look Ma, no cavities!” after his dental checkup.

Look Ma, no cavities!

It is a great feeling to have a good report, isn’t it? But what if your report wasn’t so good? That can be downright discouraging and frustrating. And it can be discouraging to me as the dentist to see patients returning time after time with new cavities. Many of these cavity-prone patients have good home care and habits, too! If you or someone you know is prone to tooth decay, you may dread your dental visits out of guilt and out of fear of being lectured about brushing, flossing, diet, and so on and on. I would like to take away that guilt and fear and replace it with hope!

Time to think differently about cavities

It seems to me it’s time to think differently about cavities. Brushing is important, yes, and getting fillings and crowns to repair decay is important, too, but this “drill and fill” approach alone has miserably failed many people through the years. There is an old saying that goes like this: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.” It’s time to change our focus and our methods when it comes to tooth decay. Maybe then we can expect a different, better result.

Are we practicing insanity?

So what do we know about dental caries (that’s the scientific name of dental cavities)? We know three things are necessary to have caries. First of all, you have to have a tooth (duh!). Secondly, you need bacteria, and, finally, the bacteria need something to eat (think sugar). When all three of those things are present in the right proportions, the result is a cavity (or dental caries). There is actually a six-step management system that can reduce your risk of getting cavities. This system works and it works by changing those three things mentioned above (the tooth, the bacteria, and what those bacteria have available to eat). Next blog I’ll start explaining the steps in this caries management system.

Thanks for reading our blog, and stay tuned!