New Research on Caries Management 

By: Dr. Savanah Craig

The American Dental Association defines dental caries as a;

“Biofilm-mediated, sugar-driven, multifactorial, dynamic disease that results in the phasic demineralization and remineralization of dental hard tissues.”

Dental caries affects 97% of the world population and the term is used to describe both the disease process and the lesion.

Dental caries can be cavitated or non-cavitated which can lead to some confusion when communicating with patients who know the term cavity.

Balancing Demineralization & Remineralization

In dental school, we were all taught about the caries process and the importance of balancing the demineralization and remineralization processes to help manage our patients’ caries risk.

Research has shown that non-cavitated carious lesions can be re-mineralized in they are only into the enamel surfaces.

In order to promote re-mineralization, however, patients need to be educated about how their habits are impacting their oral environment.

Changes in diet, smoking cessation, and education surrounding proper oral hygiene habits can make a world of difference in patients’ caries risk. However, some factors like genetic predisposition, polypharmacy, and other systemic factors are not within the control of the patient or their dental providers and may require additional resources to assist patients in maintaining their dentition. 

Adjuncts I Recommend to My Patients


Dry mouth promotes caries formation because it creates a more acidic environment. Additionally, teeth need saliva to help to disrupt the bacteria, a coat teeth in minerals to counteract demineralization.  Aquoral is designed to moisten and lubricate the oral cavity. 

Basic Bites 

Soft chews that are made with arginine bicarbonate/ calcium carbonate which work to maintain a neutral pH in the oral environment.  Arginine promotes commensal bacteria to produce a more alkaline environment. The presence of calcium helps to provide a nutrient-rich environment that is bathing the teeth. Similar to coating teeth in fluoride. 


MighTEAflow comes in a variety of forms including lozenges and rinses. The products are based on research from the Medical College of Georgia College of Dental Medicine. Some components in green tea have been found to modulate salivary function and are thought to increase salivary flow in patients experiencing dry mouth or with high caries risk. 

Baking Soda + Water 

A teaspoon of baking soda in a bottle of water creates a basic solution that patients can easily swish throughout the day to help lubricate their oral tissues and neutralize their acid environment. I especially recommend for patients who are constantly snacking or sipping on coffee. 

Keep Reading: When to Refer Your Dental Patients to a Specialist

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig obtained her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University before pursuing a one-year General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC. Dr. Craig is passionate about patient education and utilizes her advanced training to provide excellent care for her patients as a general dentist practicing in Columbus, OH. In her free time, Dr. Craig enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling with her husband, Adam.