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Special mouthwash fights cavities before they develop

A St. Petersburg dentist is using cutting-edge technology to fight cavities before they develop.

Dr. Nathan Miller is one of the few dentists in the Bay area offering a special mouthwash called Carifree.

"The treatment rinse is aimed at killing the bad bacteria and elevating the PH in your mouth. And then elevating the PH will promote the growth of the good bacteria," Miller said. "It came out of the West Coast of the United States and it's relatively new (here). "

After using the treatment the number of bacteria in patient Michelle Ebeling's mouth dropped to 3,700.

"I'm ecstatic about that," Ebeling said. "So, hopefully, it will continue to go down and I'll just keep using it."

Ebeling brushes her teeth after every meal and flosses regularly but has had four crowns and 12 fillings prior to using the rinse.

"Zero to 1,500 is a healthy, low risk environment," Miller said. "Fifteen-hundred to 3,500 is a moderate risk. And above 3,500 is a high risk."

The test is fast and painless. A swab sample from your teeth is needed to measure the bacteria in your mouth. Then, that sample is loaded into a small machine.

Miller says the chemical reaction in the test tube actually uses luciferin, the same stuff that makes fire flies glow.

"The luciferin reacts with the A-T-P produced by the bacteria - creates light. And the meter actually measures the light that's emitted and gives us a number based on that," he said.

The test costs $20 and the Carifree rinse kit is $90.

Miller says the bacteria in your mouth is not related to personal hygiene. Instead, it has more to do with diet and the bacteria can be transmitted from sharing cups or kissing.

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