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Dental Disease – (Decay/Cavities/Caries and Gum Disease/ Periodontal Disease/ Pyorrhea) is caused directly or indirectly by certain bacteria.  There is really no other cause.  Things like eating candy,  excessive sugar consumption,  poor diet, smoking , defective tooth structure, etc. only contribute to or make someone more susceptible to dental disease.  If we hope to eliminate dental disease and keep our teeth healthy we must eliminate the cause of dental disease and since the cause is certain bacteria we need to understand some things about them.

First oral bacteria are tiny.  We can put a billion of them on the head of a pin.  Knowing just that is helpful because once you know that you realize advertising for mouth washes like Listerine are a joke when they say “kills germs by the millions”.   Considering that there are quadrillions ++++ of bacteria in the mouth, what good is killing “millions of them”?

There are about 1000 varieties of bacteria that can live in the mouth, but only 20 varieties are responsible for dental disease.   We call the bad disease causing bacteria Pathogens.

The normal/ good or neutral bacteria are Aerobic which means they like oxygen and tend to live out in the open.  These good or neutral bacteria have a slow metabolism, multiply slowly,  can go without food for a day or more, are not aggressive, do not trigger our immune system, and if we look at them under a phase microscope they appear to not be moving or moving extremely slowly.  On the other hand,  the bad disease causing bacteria, the pathogens, are quite the opposite.  These bacteria are Anaerobic which means they do not like oxygen and prefer to live under the gums, between the teeth, in any defect or opening in the teeth, and under or in any overhanging edge of a filling or crown.  Unlike the good or neutral bacteria they have an extremely fast metabolism and can multiply hundreds of times faster.   They can take sugar and turn it into acid in as little as 60 seconds.  They need food and water constantly and cannot go more than a few hours without it.  They are aggressive and easily trigger our immune system.  If you look at them under a phase microscope, it looks like “NY Times Square” with a great deal of movement of the bacteria.

We have been trying to get rid of these “bad” bacteria for a long time via brushing and flossing, mouthwashes, etc, but unfortunately the oral hygiene / home care procedures recommended by the vast majority of dentists and  practiced by most people has not worked.     By the 1940’s is was known that brushing and flossing by itself was not adequate to eliminate dental disease.   It was realized that  brushing and flossing pushed some of the bad bacteria/ Pathogens deeper under the gums and actually made it better for them considering that the bacteria liked the more anaerobic conditions there.  The invention of the Water Pik/ irrigator was thought to be the answer.  It was designed to supposedly finish the job of eliminating the bad/Pathogenic bacteria.  However this although helpful, did not stop the bad/pathogenic bacteria from continuing to cause dental disease.   The scientists then realized that these bacteria could hide in incredibly tiny areas and in the porous surfaces of the roots of the teeth where mechanical cleaning or rinsing could not dislodge them.  As a result, researchers  began to try to use  Antibiotics and Antibacterials to kill these bacteria directly.  To make a long story short this effort on a long time basis was a failure because these agents either killed off the neutral or good bacteria as well as the bad/pathogenic bacteria which often led to the mouth being overgrown by fungi or yeasts (this could be worse that the dental disease we were trying to prevent) OR the antibacterials or antibiotics being used were not only toxic to the bacteria but toxic to the person using them.  As a result the only really effective product which someone could buy and use over a long time without considerable health risk was Baking Soda.  Now,  Baking Soda is a good antibacterial when used in pure form, undiluted, but the problem is: How can it be delivered below the gumline on the roots where the bad/ disease causing bacteria are?  The answer seemed to be to make a concentrated/ saturated solution of baking soda and deliver it with a Water Pik, but it became clear very quickly that this would sooner or later clog up the Water Pik.   Despite all kinds of efforts to overcome this, no simple answer was found.  In the meanwhile a group of scientists had been working on a antibacterial solution that would be non-toxic and work simply by coating all the bacteria, sealing there outside walls so they could not get food or water for a number of hours and then dissolving harmlessly.   This would kill only the bad bacteria as the good or neutral bacteria could go many hours beyond this without food or water due to their slow metabolism.   The scientists found this solution; it is now available and called Therasol.  This product is an outstanding addition to any home care program, but it does NOT stop the pathogens or dental disease completely unless it is used with an overall system that enables you to become very effective and efficient with your oral hygiene home care and not without the use of a monitoring Phase Microscope and a dental professional to make sure you actually get the bad bacteria/ pathogen count to zero.   Starting about 20 years ago Dr. Strait worked on and developed a system where we literally can take anyone who wants to and totally eliminate the bad/ disease causing bacteria from the mouth.  As a result 95% of our patients at Wilton and Bethel Dental Associates NEVER get any new dental disease and we have had this statistic for 15 years.

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