Northwest Arkansas Family Dental
Fayetteville, AR Dentist

What Is CariFree and How Do We Use It?

June 17, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Kifer
Questions About CariFree | Cavity Reduction

When you’re a patient at our office, you can rest assured that we want the same things you do – we want you to have healthy teeth and gums and a comfortable, attractive smile. We’ve incorporated a number of technologies and systems to help us achieve these things, and one of those is a system called CariFree.

What Is CariFree?

CariFree is a system of products that reduces the risk of cavities (dental caries) in patients who are particularly prone to them.

You may not realize this (many people don’t), but dental caries is actually an infectious disease caused by bacteria. It can be passed from person to person (which is why high cavity risk tends to run in families). Dental caries is classified by the CDC as an epidemic, with the numbers affected rising constantly – especially among kids. In fact, 85% of all adults in the U.S. will experience dental decay. Ouch!

We want to be part of the solution. CariFree helps us stop the disease process and get rid of the problem-causing bacteria easily and conveniently.

What’s Included in the System?

The system contains a number of products for you to use at home to combat cavity-causing bacteria. We’ll recommend the products (or combination of products) that are right for you based on your specific needs. It doesn’t make sense to just prescribe the same thing for everybody; after all, we all have different needs!

Some of the products we might prescribe for you include:

  • Lollies, which are great for helping kids
  • Rinses
  • Gels in different strengths
  • Sprays

CariFree products contain a number of ingredients, but one of the most beneficial ingredients is xylitol.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is an effective treatment for preventing cavities, and it even increases the effectiveness of fluoride. You’ve probably run into products on store shelves (like gum) that use xylitol as a sweetener. So how can a sweetener reduce your chances of developing cavities?

When bacteria encounter carbohydrates and sugars, they metabolize them into acids, which damage your teeth. The bacteria that cause cavities can’t metabolize the xylitol, which starves them and reduces bacteria levels in your mouth.

Additionally, because the xylitol tastes good to you, your salivary glands kick into action, and your saliva is actually effective when it comes to repairing your damaged enamel!

So xylitol doesn’t contribute to cavities, it prevents new cavities from forming, and it also reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth and reduces the number of bacteria in any plaque that does form. It is also safe for use at any age.

As you can probably tell, we’re excited about this product and its possibilities. If you want to find out more and see if it’s a good product for you and your family, give our Fayetteville dental office a call.

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