Like most people, when you discover you have a cavity or pain in your teeth, the first thing you do is make an appointment with your dentist as you think that fillings are the only way to fix cavities. However, what most people fail to realize is that tooth decay and cavities can be reversed and fillings aren’t the only option available.
This article will explain the basic principles behind how you can heal cavities naturally and prevent tooth decay.
- Change your diet and reduce your sugar intake. Studies in the British Medical Journal suggest that a change in diet can actually reverse tooth decay. Easy adjustments can be made to your diet immediately like:
- Consuming more calcium rich foods (i.e. kale, collards, broccoli rabe and dairy) which can help strengthen your bones and teeth.
- Avoid drinking pop, juice and drinks with high carbonation as the sugars cause excessive plaque and tartar build up which may result in cavities.
- If you want to protect your teeth from early decay or heal existing tooth decay, include the following steps in your oral care routine.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day ensuring you reach all the surfaces, crevices, pockets and corners.
- Floss at least once daily. This helps remove any remaining food from underneath your gums and prevents bacteria from forming.
- Use mouthwash; it has antibacterial properties and helps you get rid of any remaining bacteria in your mouth.
- Add vitamins and supplements to your diet. Micro nutrients are essential to bone health and keep inflammation under control to prevent or reverse cavities. Certain vitamins help produce saliva which helps to prevent bacteria from staying on your teeth and certain vitamins make your teeth a lot stronger. Foods that help promote salivation include bananas, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Vitamins you should consume include Vitamin B, D, magnesium and iron. If you’re not interested in taking supplements, eat whole grain foods and seafood (i.e. salmon, canned tuna and sardines are all great sources of vitamin D).
- Eat foods with natural probiotics. Because bad bacteria associated with infection look for places to hide in the small areas between the teeth, consuming probiotics helps to offset the acidic pH. Foods rich in probiotics include kombucha, kefir and fermented foods like kimchee and sauerkraut. These foods stimulate the production of healthy bacteria in the mouth needed to prevent plaque buildup and dental decay.
- Be aware of the pH values in the foods/drink you consume. Imbalanced pH levels can create an environment for bacteria to thrive. Drinks such as coffee create pH imbalances (like some citrus fruits and sugars), and act as the perfect environment for harbouring infectious oral bacteria. If you’re a daily coffee drinker and suffering from tooth decay, a great alternative to coffee is green tea as it contains a polyphenol (known as catechins) which acts as a powerful antioxidant and has several anti-inflammatory properties which hinder the growth of harmful bacteria and improves oral health.
- Develop a new oral care regime. Have you heard of a technique called oil pulling? Oil pulling is believed to create a soap like cleansing on teeth with moisturizing and antiseptic capabilities. It consists of swishing an oil (i.e. sesame, sunflower or coconut oil) for about 10-20 minutes in the mouth to reduce plaque buildup. It’s important that you don’t swallow the oil and to brush your teeth afterwards. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis in one month’s time.
Remember, if a cavity has already struck, a trip to the dentist may not be avoidable. However, you can limit the damage by following these simple steps and paying a little extra attention to your pearly whites.
If you need any further clarity, drop by one of our locations to speak to one of our dental team.