How to Help Caries-Prone Patients (Yes, Even the Smokers)

How to Help Caries-Prone Patients (Yes, Even the Smokers)

"You’ve got a cavity." No one likes to hear those words when they’re in the dental chair. What can you do to help patients prone to decay? Read on and find out.
Best Solution to Reduce Aerosol Contamination Reading How to Help Caries-Prone Patients (Yes, Even the Smokers) 4 minutes

Did you know? While 1 in 4 adults currently has a cavity, decay is even more prevalent in people who smoke. According to the CDC, 40% of adult smokers aged 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay.

As revealed in a smoking survey published in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), patients who received smoking cessation advice from their dental care professionals had an 18% increase in their number of quit-smoking attempts.

The author of the study stated: "Dental care professionals are well positioned to help patients quit smoking, and yet our findings show that their full potential is not being realized, which gives us an opportunity to address this gap."

What does your practice do for smoking patients? And how does it compare to what others are doing?

According to an ADA Clinical Evaluators Panel report, based on a sample size of 283 dentists:

  • 41% offered smoking counseling only
  • 8% offered both counseling & treatment
  • 1% offered treatment only
  • 49% offered nothing

Advising patients on how smoking affects their dental health, offering them information about cessation treatments, and recommending products to help fight decay can go a long way in improving their quality of life, as well as improving their patient experience and loyalty.

Helping Patients Adopt an Effective Dental Routine

Of course, the numbers tell us it’s not just smokers who have to worry about cavities. Twenty-six percent of adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay. And by age 8, over half of children (52%) have had a cavity in their primary teeth. Children from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities as children from higher-income families.

Dental teams have the important task of helping patients understand what’s involved in an effective daily dental routine. (We may take this for granted or think it’s common knowledge, but many patients simply haven’t gotten the memo yet.)

High-risk adult caries patients should be encouraged to:

  • Use an alcohol-free, fluoride mouthwash once a day, any time in between brushes.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least once during the day.
  • Reduce the amount and frequency of sugar and carb consumption in between meals.
  • Clean in between teeth interdentally once a day ... for those patients who say flossing is too tough, give a tutorial or recommend other options.
  • Fluoride varnish treatments are recommended for those with high decay risk and sensitive teeth. If the patient is undergoing cancer treatment, which can pose a risk of decay due to lack of saliva, fluoride treatments are also beneficial.

Essential Cavity-Fighting Take-Home Kit

You can help give patients a better defense against decay with Oxyfresh’s all-in-one Cavity Fighting System. It has everything they need to achieve a healthier smile with the bonus of lasting fresh breath, courtesy of our proprietary ingredient Oxygene® (stabilized chlorine dioxide), which oxidizes VSCs right at the source. Oxyfresh products are safe for long-term use, non-toxic, and free of dyes and alcohol.

What's Inside the System:

  • 5 oz. Cavity Protection Toothpaste: This low-abrasion toothpaste features both neutral sodium fluoride and zinc to help remineralize and strengthen enamel. The infusion of mild peppermint oil makes it a favorite of families everywhere.
  • 16 oz. Cavity Protection Mouthwash: Alcohol-free to protect from dryness and gum irritation, this dye-free mouthwash contains neutral sodium fluoride, bad-breath fighting Oxygene®, and the refreshing taste of peppermint essential oil & xylitol.
  • Oolitt® Elite Tongue Scraper (1): Your patients will notice a big improvement in their breath with the top-rated Oolitt® Elite Tongue Scraper. It’s 50% more effective at removing volatile sulfur compounds from the tongue versus a toothbrush.

Partner with Oxyfresh and get your caries-prone patients smiling again!