Why There Can’t Be a “Silver Bullet” Solution for Dental Caries

by Dr. V Kim Kutsch


There is no doubt about it, we love a quick fix. If there were a magic bullet solution for curing the population from dental caries, trust me, I would be the first to sing it’s praises. The problem is that there just CAN’T be a silver bullet for this disease (not that the internet won’t still try to sell you on one).

But anyone who has spent time studying dental caries or working with real patients knows deep down a single therapeutic strategy or silver bullet for dental caries just doesn’t exist. Why can’t we treat dental decay with a single strategy? Well, because dental caries is a multifactorial disease, and depending upon the exact risk factor(s) each patient has, no one strategy is going to be sufficient.

We have seen this play out in many studies, like those using xylitol as a single strategy, of course using ONLY xylitol didn’t “cure” decay. Xylitol only affects one aspect of the complex disease process. Dental caries will never be treated successfully with any single therapy. Dental professionals need to identify individual risk factors for each patient and design therapeutic strategies targeted to those specific risk factors. They also need to determine a patient’s biofilm challenge and if an antibacterial treatment is necessary. Often removal and restoration is part of the process as well as diet and wellness counseling.

If we could hand patients a magic pill that would cure them, trust me, I would. But as practitioners we need to realize that if we rely only on fluoride or fillings we will never be successful. The good news? A CAMBRA program that utilizes CariFree products offers an effective multipronged approach to assessment and treatment that adequately addresses each element of the disease. A comprehensive approach is how I have found my success. It may not be a single silver bullet, but it is hands down the nearest thing.

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