It can take years, decades even, for good research to produce actionable results. In the case of CAMBRA, it’s safe to say that it was worth the wait. CAMBRA (caries management by risk assessment) is a methodology developed in the early 2000s while we rocked out to Blink-182 on the newly released iPod and bought Donnie Darko Halloween costumes. Now, almost twenty years later, the methodology has become a proven method for preventing decay and protecting teeth.
How Does CAMBRA Work?
Caries is the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities. We’ve known for a while that cavities are caused by buildup of bacteria that turn sugar and carbohydrates from the food we eat into acid, which in turn, eat through tooth enamel. The latest research though shows that caries is a pathogenic bacterial infection, essentially a disease. Similar to other diseases like breast cancer where early detection can save lives, the best approach to treatment is prevention.
That’s where CAMBRA comes in. The approach allows a dentist to take into account a patient’s health and lifestyle risk factors like a diet high in sugar and cross-reference them with positive factors like living in a city or town with fluoridated water. From there, a dentist can rate a patient’s risk for developing caries and begin prevention right away, which can even halt or reverse damage that has already begun.
Besides a carefully developed and personalized oral hygiene plan, your dentist can implement a few other treatments for caries under the CAMBRA approach. Because caries attacks the good minerals in a tooth’s natural biofilm, remineralization can help restore what was lost. This can involve something as simple as a fluoride mouthrinse or antibacterial therapies such as chlorhexidine and xylitol. “Studies have shown that the application of 5,000-ppm fluoride twice daily — can reverse many root caries lesions – cavities on the root surface of teeth, usually below the gums and which occur more frequently in older patients,” according to the University of California School of Dentistry, the birthplace of CAMBRA.
CAMBRA is so important because it’s a tool for prevention. Rather than passively waiting for cavities to inevitably attack teeth, and then retroactively filling them, dentists can help patients avoid a life of painful and uncomfortable oral health. Every patient can now be assessed on an individual level as opposed to a collective one, taking into account the individual’s lifestyle, health history, and environment—all factors that impact a person’s ability to maintain lifelong health.
If you’re a resident of the Fairfax, Virginia area and you’re looking for a skilled and experienced preventive dentist, please call 703-323-8200 or email Dr. Pamela Marzban, DDS today to arrange a consultation.