Author: Dr. Hatheway
So it seems there is a new player on the market that may be able to prevent caries, well not actually new, Silver Diamine Flouride has been around for about 60 years. It has been used mostly in Japan as a means to prevent secondary caries after the caries were arrested (meaning caries coming back after it killed all the “bugs”) in low income schoolchildren. The product consists of Silver Diamine Flouride in a 12% to 38% concentration. The way it works is by using the silver in the product to kill the bacteria, silver is a natural bacteriostatic (bacteria killing) element, and the flouride in the product helps to remineralize the broken structure of the tooth. Flouride essentially replaces the calcium that was lost by the acid produced by the bacteria. Silver also has the added benefit of preventing new caries, since the silver becomes incorporated into the structure of the tooth therefore continuously killing the bacteria.
So far research has shown a moderate to fair amount of success in the prevention of caries, usually hovering around 50% success rate according to this review by SAGE (click here to go to link). So what’s the downfall, your probably asking yourself this is too good to be true? And you would be right, the biggest disadvantage of these products is that it turns the caries into an unsightly black discoloration (due to the silver in the product). Though this may be preferred to letting the caries continue to eat away at your teeth and potentially losing your teeth. (see pictures below)
here has been much research in the past 60 years since its introduction. The most recent research dealing with whether this product effects it has on the bonding of tooth colored fillings, the current thought is that it may decrease the bonding strength of tooth colored fillings.
The area where this product really shines (no pun intended) is in regards to elderly and disadvantaged individuals. Many elderly patients are on medications that cause chronic dry mouth and therefore saliva is unable to rid the mouth of sugars, this leads to many areas of decay usually along the gumline, combined with the fact many are on a tight budget this may be an option to hold over elderly individuals.
All in all, this products seems to have good potential as a weapon in the arsenal for fighting tooth decay. 😀