Root caries may occur in teeth with a lengthened clinical crown.  For example, these may be cases when there has been recession of the gingival tissue leading to exposure of the root surface, which is then colonized by microorganisms. The occurrence of root caries increases with age. The prevalence of root caries in the remaining dentition of patients over 60 years of age and residents of homes for the elderly ranges between 60 and 90%.  These patients often take medication that reduces salivary flow (tranquilizers, antihypertensive and antihistamine drugs), which could further increase the caries risk.

In these cases, the doctor might prescribe a Chlorhexidine oral rinse, which puts the responsibility on the patient or their healthcare aid to ensure that the rinsing actually takes place.  Some patients find that the rinse has an unpleasant taste and stains their teeth, which may further reduce patient compliance.

exposed root

Cervitec Plus is a varnish containing Chlorhexidine and thymol and is professionally applied in the dental office to targeted areas for long-lasting protection.  It's a clear varnish that doesn‘t stain teeth or taste bad.  America's leading oral health professionals recommends application of a chlorhexidine/thymol varnish every three months to reduce the incidence of root caries.

Download ADA's Caries Prevention Practice Guideline