Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed? The Truth About Tooth Decay
Tooth decay happens in different stages with progressing severity.
Many wonder "can tooth decay be reversed?" Find out the facts today.
Tooth decay is a common problem, particularly among children and teens. Even though tooth decay is preventable, the average number of teeth affected by decay among children is 2.5.
As you get older, preventing tooth decay becomes even more important. Tooth decay can contribute to serious dental problems and even cause tooth loss.
We know that tooth decay is preventable through good oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist. But can tooth decay be reversed? Here's what you need to know about healing cavities and protecting your teeth.
What Is Tooth Decay?
To understand how to repair your teeth, it's important to know what tooth decay is.
Most people think of tooth decay as lost, missing, or visibly damaged teeth. However, these are actually late to end stages of tooth decay. More people experience tooth decay than they realize because it starts long before you notice it.
Tooth decay is the destruction of the enamel (the hard surface) on your teeth and the eventual damage to the structure of your tooth.
The biggest cause of tooth decay is the consumption of sugary foods and beverages. When you eat sugar, it contributes to the acid in your mouth. When that acid works together with the bacteria that live in your mouth, it softens your enamel.
What role do cavities play in tooth decay? A cavity is a permanently damaged area in your enamel that turns into a tiny hole. If a cavity goes untreated, it can become infected and not only ruin the inside of your tooth but sink down into your gums and jaw and cause further infection.
Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed?
You're not wrong to wonder if there's a way to heal or reverse cavities or tooth decay without dental treatment. If you're in the early stages of decay, then the answer is yes. Even better, you already have the tools you need to stop or reverse the problem.
The most important components in protecting your teeth are brushing and flossing. You must commit to brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day every single day. You should also floss at least once a day to remove hard to reach plaque.
If you aren't brushing and flossing, then you can't stop tooth decay.
However, brushing and flossing alone won't give you the results you want. You also need to think carefully about what you eat and drink.
Why Water Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
What do you reach for when you're thirsty? A sports drink? Juice? Soda? Tea?
To protect your teeth from further damage, you should be turning to water more often than not.
Water neutralises the acids that wear away at your enamel. If you live in a town or city, then you also probably enjoy the benefits of fluoride in your tap water. Fluoride is a natural mineral that can help strengthen your teeth. It occurs naturally in water, but communities add it to their water sources in greater amounts for better protection.
Canadians in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario enjoy the highest rates of fluoridated water in the country. Here in Alberta, almost 75% of people have access to fluoridated water.
How Diet Plays a Role in Tooth Decay
You already know that your diet plays a huge role in your oral health. Sugar consumption, particularly in the form of simple carbohydrates, is one of the biggest predictors of cavities, tooth decay, and poor oral health.
Is there anything else you can do beyond avoid sugar? The answer is yes.
There are two nutrients that can promote dental health and strengthen your teeth to prevent tooth decay. The first nutrient is fiber. Fibrous foods help your saliva protect your mouth. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which helps it reduce the effects of the acid that wears down your enamel.
Calcium is the second nutrient. It also promotes saliva production, which again helps you put calcium and phosphates back into your teeth and strengthens your enamel.
Chewing Gum Can Help Prevent Cavities
Chewing gum has a role to play in oral health, particularly when you can't brush your teeth right away.
When you chew gum, you increase your saliva, which gets rid of food particles stuck in your teeth and bring those nutrients to counteract the impact of the acid.
However, the rule only applies to sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. Xylitol helps reduce plaque formation and prevents it from attaching to your teeth.
Remineralising Toothpaste Can Help
Is there a toothpaste that reverses cavities? Potentially.
Some kinds of toothpaste help remineralize your teeth in addition to removing plaque and keeping them clean. These products contain ingredients like:
These ingredients help bond your enamel to form patches where little holes (cavities) begin.
Not all toothpaste formulas are created equal, so ask your dentist for a recommendation if you're worried about softening enamel.
It's Better to Stop Tooth Decay Before It Starts
Can tooth decay be reversed? Yes, you can, but reversing the process is a life-long commitment - not a quick fix.
To reverse tooth decay and prevent cavities, you need to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, and be wary of what you eat and drink. Remember that tooth decay begins long before you experience a toothache or a cavity. The acid and bacteria in your mouth are ready and waiting at all times.
Your dentist plays an important role in preventing and reversing tooth decay. To get started, schedule a consultation for a cleaning and exam with us. We can help protect your smile today and for life.