How To Get Rid of Cavities At Home or At the Dentist
Dentists have debated how to get rid of cavities for quite some time. Essentially, there are a few ways to get rid of cavities:
- Good oral hygiene (early stages, prevention)
- Dental procedure (filling, root canal, etc.)
- Remineralization (functional approach)
A cavity (AKA dental caries or tooth decay) is a hole in your tooth, caused by the bacteria and acid in plaque that forms on your teeth.
What causes cavities? Plaque, which can harden into tartar, is made up of bacteria that produces acid. These acids erode your outer tooth enamel, then your inner dentin, and infect/inflame the innermost pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels.
Demineralization is the process of bacteria and acid (fed by sugar and starch) deteriorate the minerals of your teeth. As the minerals are worn away, cavities form.
Remineralization is the process of restoring the minerals in your tooth’s enamel. (It can also refer to bones, but let’s focus on your teeth.) Remineralization can actually reverse the earliest stages of tooth decay.
It’s important to note that saliva is integral to remineralization and cavity prevention. Dry mouth is bad for your oral care.
Can you make a cavity go away? Remineralization can reverse the early stages of tooth decay. With superb oral hygiene, you can make a small cavity “go away.”
If you can’t reverse your dental cavities because they’re too far developed, you’ll need to see a dentist for a restoration like a crown, filling, sealant, root canal, or extraction.
But it’s actually easier than ever to heal cavities at home! As long as you have a good daily oral hygiene routine and the right dental care products, you can reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
How to Get Rid of Cavities At Home
Can you heal cavities naturally? If you’re concerned you might have a cavity, or an x-ray confirms it, the cavity may be small enough that you can remineralize your teeth. Some dentists call this a pre-cavity, and they are treatable at home.
How to get rid of cavities at home:
- Brush your teeth
- Use the right toothpaste
- Floss every day
- Clean/scrape your tongue
- Rinse with mouthwash
- Use baking soda
- Chew xylitol gum
- Try oil pulling
- Stop snacking
- Avoid cavity-causing foods
- Eat oral health-promoting foods
Allow me to go into brief detail on each of these important home remedies.
Brush Your Teeth
Here’s a quick guide on how to brush those pearly whites:
- Use a sonic toothbrush. Powered toothbrushes remove plaque better than manual toothbrushes. That’s why all of Triple Bristle’s brushes are sonic.
- Use soft bristles. Hard bristles damage your gums.
- Use a three-headed brush. Triple Bristle’s novel three-headed brush delivers a superior clean in half the time. A triple-headed toothbrush cleans plaque effectively, especially when a caretaker is cleaning another person’s teeth.
- Brush at least twice a day. It’s best to brush after every meal and before you go to bed. But twice daily is acceptable.
Use the Right Toothpaste
Use a fluoride-free toothpaste. Fluoride toothpastes can be toxic in large amounts if swallowed. And other minerals can remineralize your teeth, like hydroxyapatite.
The American Dental Association recommends using fluoride treatments at the dentist and fluoride toothpaste at home.
Floss Every Day
Recent studies found flossing before you brush is more effective than brushing then flossing.
Triple Bristle offers a mint flavored, unwaxed dental floss that glides easily between teeth. Not only are there 55 yard per pack, but we offer free US shipping.
Clean/Scrape Your Tongue
Over time, debris and bacteria can accumulate on your tongue. This causes bad breath and contributes to poor oral hygiene.
That’s why you need a tongue cleaner (sometimes called tongue scraper), like the one we offer in our store. (And you guessed it — we offer free US shipping!)
Tongue cleaning can:
Rinse with Mouthwash
A mouth rinse is not always necessary. But mouthwash can be a helpful tool in your dental hygiene.
Do not use mouthwash right after brushing your teeth. Rather, rinse with mouthwash after a meal when you can’t brush your teeth.
Use Baking Soda
I’ve heard people ask how to get rid of cavities with baking soda. It’s true, a commercial or homemade baking soda toothpaste can whiten teeth, fight plaque, and prevent tooth decay.
If you want to clean your teeth with baking soda, do not continue after a week. The abrasive nature of baking soda can damage your tooth surface after repeated cleanings.
However, there is the issue of taste. Baking soda does not have a pleasant taste. But some companies sweeten their baking soda products with artificial sweeteners like xylitol.
Chew Xylitol Gum
Chewing xylitol gum after a meal can rinse away harmful acids and capture food particles, pulling them out from between your teeth.
It’s recommended to chew xylitol gum for 20 minutes after eating.
Try Oil Pulling
What is oil pulling for cavities? Oil pulling is when you swish coconut oil around in your mouth, then spit it into the trash after about twenty seconds (though some suggest several minutes).
Snacking in between meals is a no-no, as your teeth remineralize most effectively when at “rest”. Cutting out snacking is a great way to stop tooth decay from spreading.
When you snack, food particles get stuck in your teeth that you probably won’t brush away until hours later. Not to mention, most “snacks” are sugary.
If you do want to snack, stick to lean veggies and foods low in carbohydrates.
Avoid Cavity-Causing Foods
Reduce your sugar intake. There are certain foods and drinks you want to avoid, mainly sugary foods and sugary drinks:
- Salad dressings
- Non-diet sodas
- Fruit juices
- Energy drinks
- Simple starches (pasta and white bread)
- Dried fruit
Eat Oral Health-Promoting Foods
Some foods prevent plaque, promote saliva (dry mouth is bad for your oral hygiene), and help remineralize your teeth:
- Calcium-rich foods (such as shrimp, almonds, and broccoli)
- Phosphorus-rich foods (such as meat, eggs, and nuts)
- Magnesium-rich foods (such as avocado and green leafy vegetables)
- Vitamin D-rich foods or supplements
- Drink water
How Your Dentist Can Get Rid of Your Cavities
How do dentists get rid of cavities? Dentists can perform several procedures to address cavities:
- Root Canal
A dental crown is placed over a chipped tooth or a cavity that has been restored by a filling or root canal to restore its original shape or size. Crowns can be made of gold, silver, porcelain, or a composite resin.
A dental filling replaces decayed tooth material.
A dentist will remove decay (often with a drill) and “fill” it with gold, silver, porcelain, amalgam, or a composite material.
Dental sealant stops cavity formation in its tracks. It doesn’t fill in a cavity, but coats the tooth so food particles can’t turn into plaque and harm the tooth further.
This plastic coating is usually only placed on teeth showing signs of early tooth decay, not healthy teeth.
A sealant can last 10 years, but a dentist should still examine them for chips or wearing at your twice-yearly checkup.
4. Root Canal
A root canal procedure eliminates bacteria from the infected root canal. The infected portion of the innermost part of the tooth (the pulp) is removed. Your dentist disinfects the inside of the tooth. Then the tooth is sealed.
This should prevent reinfection and save the rest of the tooth. However, a root canal essentially “mummifies” the tooth so that no blood flow travels to it. A root canaled tooth must be protected by a crown.
Tooth extraction is also known as pulling teeth.
A dentist will almost always give you an anesthetic before extracting the tooth. He/she may need to cut into the gums to extract a decayed tooth, but you won’t feel it.
Overall, this is an invasive procedure, and dentists often use tooth extraction as a last resort.
One reason for this is that tooth extractions should ideally be followed by a dental implant to preserve the spacing of teeth. Dental implants are costly and also very invasive.
Consequences of Untreated Cavities
Here are the consequences of untreated tooth decay:
- Constant tooth pain
- Difficulty chewing food
- Abscess in your tooth, which can lead to infection
- Pus or swelling around your teeth
- Lack of self-confidence in your smile
- Higher risk of chipping or breaking a tooth
- Tooth loss
Looking to the Future
If you have a toothache or notice some tooth sensitivity, you may have a cavity.
But if you or your dentist catch a cavity in its earliest stages, you can remineralize your teeth with good oral hygiene practices.
Daily oral hygiene should be as simple as possible. That’s why Triple Bristle also offers three-sided brush heads that are compatible with Sonicare brand toothbrushes.
Cavities are common. But cavities are also preventable. And if you’re vigilant enough, cavities may just be reversible.
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