Until dental vaccines are available, tooth dacay can still be battled sucessfully with a combination of dental weapons. Yet surveys suggest that "the general public simlly does not know the best way to protect against tooth decay," says Alice Horowith of the National Institute of Dental Research.
Among the steps recommended for prevention:
----Fluoride, which Horowith calls "the first line of defense against tooth decay."
----Dental sealants are "second only to fluoride" in offering protection frrom cavities, Horowitz says. Unlike fluoride, sealants must be applied to the teeth by a dentist or a dental hygienist.
---- Diet. The most potent cavity promoters are foods high in sugar. Particular problems are sweet sticky food that cling to the teeth.
----Toothpaste The American Dental Assn. evaluates tooth paste upon request by manufactureers. Based on tests of safety and effectiveness, the ADA allows manufacturers to put a seal of approval on the label. Five fluoride-containing toothpastes----Aim, Aquafresh, Colgate, Crest and Macleans carry the ADA seal, as do three toothpastes for sensitive teeth---- Denquel, Protect and Sensodyne.