You take a big bite of your sandwich and wince – that tooth pain you’ve been feeling for a few days is getting worse. You’ve tried to deny it, but you realize you’re probably getting a cavity. Unfortunately, a full-blown cavity won’t go away on its own, but if you catch tooth decay in the early stages, you can halt its progress and even reverse it.
What Is a Cavity?
The cavity development process starts with the regular consumption of sugary food and drinks. Bacteria in your mouth react with this sugar to create acid. When this acid comes in contact with the tooth, it spurs a process called demineralization. This process depletes the minerals in the enamel, causing this hard outer coating to thin.
With time, saliva can further erode the outer layers until bacteria can enter the tooth and cause decay. At this early stage, white spots usually show up in areas where the tooth has lost enamel.
In the beginning stages of cavity formation, the decay process can still be reversed and brought under control with a proper oral health regimen. However if left unchecked, the continued loss of minerals can lead to a hole in the tooth called a cavity.
Once a cavity fully forms, it can only be adequately tended to by a professional dentist. He or she will clean and fill it up to prevent bacteria from lodging there and further destroying tooth and gum tissue.
How Do You Heal an Early Cavity?
Once you discover white spots on your tooth, you must act fast to reverse the demineralization process. Implementing the following steps in your daily routine can reverse your early cavities and also improve your overall dental health.
Stick to a daily oral care routine
Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride-rich toothpaste is an excellent step to reduce acid plaque buildup. Also floss at least once a day, as this helps to remove debris trapped in the various crevices in your teeth.
Another great habit to add to your oral care routine is rinsing with mouthwash to kill off the toxic bacteria in your mouth. However, some dentists claim that anti-bacterial mouthwash can also kill off the good bacteria.
Instead, you should get an all-natural mouthwash with a high pH. The high pH also helps to maintain the balance between acidity and alkalinity in the mouth.
Replace sugar with vitamins and minerals
An intentional diet designed to support your oral health can not only help rebuild your enamel coating by providing you with calcium, but it will also support gum health and kill toxic bacteria.
A diet devoid of sugary foods reduces or completely halts the acid attacks on your teeth. Probiotic-rich meals also support the production of healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria supports the saliva in the elimination of plaque.
Past a certain point, of course, you will need to see a dentist. While you’re there, be sure to schedule your next cleaning. Getting routine check-ups is a great way to prevent tooth decay – and thus cavities – before it even starts.