(WECT) - Dental health is vital to your overall well being, and now some dentists are using new methods to keep our pearly whites shining.
"There's 400-some different types of bacteria that compose the plaque in your mouth," said Dr. Gary Weiss. "Some of those cause gum disease, some of them are positive effects, they help with digestion -- and then the others are negative that cause decay."
Weiss says some people naturally have higher levels of decay causing bacteria, making them more prone to cavities. Brushing and flossing may not be enough. He says the best way to avoid those pits of pain is prevention.
"The CariFree system is giving us a chance to treat the disease process," said Weiss. "So we're being a preventative entity than strictly a patch and fix sort of thing."
Weiss has started offering patients the Carifree system, which is a personal approach to preventing cavities.
Weiss swabs inside the patient's mouth to test how much bacteria is present. If there's too much, he'll prescribe a special mouthwash specific to that patient. The rinse keeps bacteria from growing in the mouth.
"The rule needs to be impressed on the patient that this has to be something that they have to work with as a common thing, really for the rest of their lives," said Weiss. "I would make it akin to a diabetic being treated with insulin."
The dentist's patients need to rinse with the mouthwash twice a day for one minute, and shouldn't eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward.
After a few weeks, the bacteria levels should be lower.
Patients who have been using Carifree say they hope it will keep them out of the dentist chair and away from the drill.