We all try to avoid those dreaded words when we get our teeth cleaned: “It looks like you have a cavity.” More and more, patients are asking whether it’s possible to reverse tooth decay, rather than giving in to the inevitable filling. We put together our top five ways to reverse tooth decay and cavities to help you improve your overall oral health.
How Cavities Form
Before we dive into our tips to reverse decay, let’s take a step back and look at the conditions that cause the decay in the first place. Our page on tooth decay and cavity symptoms is also a great resource. In short, the culprit is the combination of sugars and oral bacteria that work together to break down your tooth enamel. No sugar, no cavities. Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere in our diets—don’t forget, carbohydrates break down into sugars—so we must make sure we brush and floss regularly. However, sometimes cavities still happen even with great home care.
Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed?
Remember, even though you may be able to remineralize your teeth, you need to address existing cavities right away. Remineralization is a slow process, and while you are doing that, those sugars and bacteria are still going to be working away at your enamel. Additionally, if the demineralization has progressed to the point of a cavity, it is not possible to reverse that level of damage. Regular dental check-ups and great home care are also vitally important to your long-term oral health.
How to Reverse Tooth Decay: Our Top 5 Ways to Undo the Damage
Now on to those tips we promised you. These are all great ways to boost your body’s ability to stop—and even correct—the assault on your enamel.
Fix Your Diet
We aren’t saying you have to completely cut out all sugar from your diet. But taking steps to reduce it will slow the progression of any current cavities you may have. Choosing fresh vegetables over-processed foods will boost your body’s ability to strengthen your teeth. Reduce the number of sweets you eat and remember to brush and floss regularly. You may also want to invest in a water flosser or an electric toothbrush for their added benefits.
Deal with “Dry Mouth”
If you suffer from chronic “dry mouth,” this can play a negative role in your oral health. When our mouths are dry for prolonged periods of time, the acidity level increases. Without saliva to help wash away the acids from the foods you eat, those acids stay on your teeth’s surfaces and start to break down the enamel. If this is something you struggle with, let us know so we can recommend one of several courses of action to help correct it.
Fluoride: Not Just for Kids
Fluoride plays a key role in remineralization at any age. This is because fluoride has proven to increase remineralization rates. Not only is fluoride antibacterial in nature, but it then also gets reincorporated into the tooth structure as part of the remineralization.
Along the lines of cleaning up your diet, it’s also critically important to drink more water. Not only does the water rinse off your mouth, but hydration levels tie into dealing with that chronic “dry mouth” we mentioned above. And it does need to be water—not sports drinks, juice, or sodas. Cut back on your sugary favorites and replace several of these with water to boost your body’s ability to protect your teeth.
Though we try to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from our foods, we often fall short. If you are trying to reverse damage to your enamel, consider adding several key supplements. Teeth benefit from Vitamins B and D, magnesium, and iron. Adding a probiotic can help because of the benefits to your gut health and your pH levels. Probiotics encourage healthy bacteria, rather than the destructive bacteria that play a major role in cavity formation.
How Long Does It Take to Reverse Tooth Decay?
Just as our bodies heal from wounds and infections at different rates, your ability to remineralize tooth decay is going to be different from someone else’s. Also, as we mentioned above, remineralization efforts may be successful on very early signs of wear on the enamel. Large cavities are not likely to respond the same way.
Creating an Action Plan for Your Oral Health
At your next dental appointment, we can talk about any specific concerns you may have. Together, we can create an action plan to reverse tooth decay. There’s no time like the present to get you on the right track. Peach Valley Dental is proud to be your Atlanta dentist of choice. Call our office to schedule your next appointment or consultation at 404-254-5196.