“A cavity is a late manifestation of a bacterial infection.”
US Surgeon General, Report on Oral Health in America, 2000
In a high risk adult, tooth decay looks like this – multiple fillings and crowns, many of which are failing, as well as prospects for dental implants.
These fillings or crowns result from a damaging bacterial infection on the teeth.
However, these fillings and crowns do not control this infection. It persists and that is why many adults regularly need more repairs to their teeth.
So what is this infection and how can it be controlled?
The primary bacteria causing dental decay is Streptococcus mutans. It lives in a mass of bacteria called the dental biofilm. For high risk adults, commonly it cannot be controlled adequately with brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings. More preventive measures are required to manage S. mutans and thereby, to arrest the destruction of your teeth and the expensive fillings and crowns.
Dental decay – a risk factor for heart disease. The bacteria causing dental decay is dominant in diseased arterial plaque. One study showed that dental decay at the gum line is a more important predictor of heart disease than cholesterol.