Caries (Cavity) development in adults

There are many conditions that predispose adults to caries development—and therefore preventive treatment.

In adults, small interproximal restorations (tooth coloured fillings done between two teeth) frequently deteriorate over time and progress to become large cavities, eventually resulting in the need for a root canal and crown (Cap). If xerostomia (dry mouth) or gum recession is present, we will often observe an ominous dark line at the crown margin. This disease progression is irreversible and requires more aggressive treatment. Adults must be consistent with their follow up visits and check-ups to prevent this.

One of the most significant factors in cavity development is exposed tooth root surfaces. While enamel (the outermost layer of your teeth) demineralizes at a pH of 5.5, exposed tooth root surfaces demineralize at a pH much closer to neutral pH6.2–6.7 (water is at a pH of 7). As a result, initiation and progression of root cavities is more rapid. For adult patients, root cavities is an ugly outcome, often having negative effects that are far-reaching.

Adults with xerostomia are a group at risk for rapid progression of caries(cavities). More than 400 medications contribute to xerostomia. Your natural saliva clears away debris and has the capability to buffer acid attacks. Without saliva, enamel isn’t exposed to calcium and phosphate, and remineralization cannot occur.

High-risk patients

Patients who have been diagnosed with decay during the last 24 months are considered high risk for caries development. They are very likely to develop recurrent decay in the same location or at a new site because the bacterial infection is ongoing. Simply removing decay and placing a restoration is not enough; the oral cavity must achieve a bacterial balance in order to reduce the bacterial attack.

For these patients, after a restoration of any kind has been placed due to caries activity, a fluoride varnish (varnish made with fluoride, a mineral that strengthens the outer enamel coating on teeth) treatment should be performed at subsequent recall visits until the patient has had two caries-free years. In addition to professionally applied fluoride, the use of remineralization products, home fluoride, xylitol gum, and pH stabilization may be indicated. We recommend that you receive fluoride varnish treatments at our clinic to help prevent tooth decay. This can be done 2 to 4 times per year. The number of treatments depend on on the possibility of you getting a cavity.

Keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatments cannot completely prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that helps prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse thereby preventing tooth decay. When you also brush your teeth using the right amount of toothpaste with fluoride, flossing regularly, getting regular dental care, and eating a healthy diet is essential in preventing tooth decay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many adults take medicines that can cause dry mouth. This is also called xerostomia. Many common drugs have this side effect. They include antihistamines and medicines for allergies, anxiety and high blood pressure.

Some diseases can also cause dry mouth. The most notable are Sjögren's syndrome and diabetes.

Decreased saliva flow can increase your risk of dental decay. That's because saliva washes away bits of food that also feed decay-causing bacteria. These bacteria produce acids that decay teeth. Saliva helps to neutralize the acids. It also contains many minerals, including fluoride. These minerals help strengthen the enamel, the outer hard surface of your teeth.

If you have a dry mouth, try using a fluoride mouthwash. It helps to moisten your mouth and protect your teeth. You also can buy saliva substitutes at the pharmacy. Many people use them to replace the saliva they lack.

Sucking on sugar-free hard candy or chewing sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva. Products that contain xylitol are the most helpful. This natural sugar helps to protect teeth from decay because the bacteria cannot use xylitol as food.

By the time you're an adult, you may already have some form of periodontal disease. This condition can cause your gums to recede and expose more of your teeth. Receding gums give bacteria more room to roam. This puts you at risk of getting cavities below the enamel, in the roots of your teeth. For example, more than half the adults over the age of 75 have had root decay. If your dentist has treated you for periodontal disease, your gums may have been reshaped. This process exposes tooth roots, which also can lead to tooth or root decay.

To protect your teeth's roots, your dentist can paint a fluoride varnish or gel on them. You can use a fluoride mouthwash or a prescription fluoride gel to get more fluoride.

If you have had recent tooth decay, you're at risk for more. You still have the bacteria and other conditions in your mouth that can lead to cavities. The use of fluoride should be an important part of your daily oral health care regimen if you have prior cavities.

Crowned teeth (teeth having caps) are not safe from cavities. As long as some natural tooth remains, it is at risk. The edges of fillings or crowns can be hiding places for decay-causing bacteria. Fluoride can protect the tooth from decay. In certain cases, it can stop the decay process and allow the tooth to remineralize.

Adults who get this type of therapy are at very high risk of tooth decay. That's because the radiation damages their salivary glands. This causes dry mouth. Saliva fights tooth decay, so people with dry mouth are at higher risk for decay.

If dry mouth results from radiation therapy, then it is important that you use generous amounts of fluoride to prevent decay. We can make you a custom carrier (tray) to hold the fluoride gel. Place this tray over your teeth for 5 minutes each day to ensure longer contact with the fluoride. After applying the fluoride, do not rinse your mouth for 30 minutes. Come visit us at Therapeuo every 2 to 3 months for a regular check-up/follow up appointment.

Fluoride varnish is safe and used by dentists and doctors all over the world to help prevent tooth decay. Only a small amount is used, and hardly any fluoride is swallowed. It is quickly applied and hardens. Then it is brushed off after 12 hours.

Fluoride varnish is painted on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. It is sticky but hardens once it comes in contact with saliva. You may feel the hardened varnish with your tongue but you will not be able to lick the varnish off. It does not hurt when the varnish is applied and it takes only a few minutes.

More Information

How Do I Care for My Teeth After Fluoride Varnish is Applied?

  • Post application of the Fluoride you must continue to spit until the taste of Fluoride is gone.
  • You can eat and drink 1 hour after the fluoride varnish is applied.
  • Only consume soft foods and cold or warm (not hot) foods or liquids for 24 hours
  • Do not brush or floss teeth for at least 12 hours.


Cost Of Treatment :
Rs 1000


Time Duration :
30 minutes


Number Of Sittings :
1 Sitting every 4 to 6 months