Dental caries is a transmissible bacterial infection whose prevalence and severity are affected by multiple factors. It occurs on a continuum, with cycles of demineralization and remineralization occurring over years. If an incipient caries lesion is detected, or if risk behaviors are identified early, the process may be reversed and the tooth surface repaired. In the United States, caries is more prevalent in Hispanic (46%) and non-Hispanic black (44%) children than in non-Hispanic white children (31%) ages 2 through 8.1,2Globally, out of 7.6 billion people, 2.5 billion have untreated caries in permanent teeth and 573 million children have untreated caries in deciduous teeth.3 Caries development is a dynamic process involving four players: bacteria, fermentable carbohydrates, a tooth, and an extended time period.4,5 The prevailing caries prevention paradigm involves targeting bacteria (antimicrobial agents) and enamel (mainly through the use of fluoride). This approach has had limited success in reducing the worldwide prevalence of caries.6 The next generation of disease prevention, however, must include behaviors and actions outside of those traditionally supported.
* References can be found in the original article via the link below.