Tooth decay is when the tooth’s surface is damaged because of the wearing down of the enamel. This happens due to the interaction between the mouth bacteria and the food that you eat - in most cases, tooth decay occurs due to poor oral hygiene. If not treated, tooth decay can lead to cavities, pain, infection, and even loss of tooth. In this article, let us discuss in detail how to reverse tooth decay.
How are cavities formed?
Cavities occur due to the process of tooth decay, which happens in five stages. Here are the steps leading to the formation of dental caries or cavities:
This is the first stage of tooth decay, in which the enamel is exposed to the acids created when the harmful bacteria interact with sugars and starches in the mouth.
Wearing down of the enamel:
In the second stage of tooth decay, the enamel starts to wear down and continues to decay, and here is where small gaps or holes in the teeth start to form.
This is the more painful stage of the tooth decay process, because here is when the soft inner layer of the teeth, dentin, gets affected by the decay.
When the decay has reached the pulp (the part which encompasses blood vessels and nerves in the tooth) that is when the final stage of tooth decay has been reached. In this stage, the inflammation is extreme.
Sometimes the bacteria inside the cavity spread beneath the pulp and lead to pus formation. Often, tooth abscess can go unnoticed, but in most instances, it is extremely painful.
How to reverse tooth decay?
Tooth decay or cavities can be reversed if the treatment begins early in the demineralization process. This is the stage where following good oral hygiene is crucial to restoring the minerals in the teeth and stopping the decay at the right time. If you have caught tooth decay in its early stages, here is how to reverse tooth decay and start the treatment process to prevent further damage:
Brush twice a day:
Never, ever skip brushing your teeth - even when you don’t feel like brushing in the night. It is crucial to brush your teeth two times a day, for two minutes each, as recommended by the American Dental Association. Try the Oral-B Vitality 100 Criss Cross Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush which comes with a timer and notifies you every 30 seconds to change the area you are brushing. With 2D Cleaning Action, it oscillates and rotates to work as a plaque remover better than a regular toothbrush and gives you superior care.
Use a fluoride toothpaste:
Regularly brushing with a fluoride toothpaste can significantly help in the prevention of dental caries as well as halting the decay process in the initial stages and starting the reversal process.
Don’t forget to floss:
Although brushing is crucial, flossing is as important, if not more. Sometimes, the brush cannot reach in between the teeth as effectively as floss strips can. It is highly advisable to floss at least once a day, especially in the night before going to bed, to remove the day’s plaque and leftover food particles and not let it cause more damage during sleep. Use waxed floss strips that can easily slide in between the teeth, such as Oral-B essential mint dental floss.
Rinse with a mouthwash:
If you want optimal oral health, then rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash can do wonders for your teeth. This can kill the harmful mouth bacteria and nip plaque formation in the bud, without giving it leeway to start causing further damage.
Smoking can aggravate tooth decay like no other - so it is best to avoid smoking, at least during healing your teeth. And for your oral health and overall health in general, it is best if you quit smoking altogether.\
Avoid sugary foods:Starchy, sugary foods and drinks can be detrimental in the treatment process for tooth decay. Sugar can aggravate the mouth bacteria and plaque formation and cause further damage. So sugary foods and beverages are best avoided if you want to recover from tooth decay.
If the tooth decay or cavity has reached the later stages already, then you may need to go to the dentist for medical intervention. Here are the treatment options for the same:
Tooth Decay Treatment:
For smaller cavities, a resin or composite filling may be used.
When a cavity affects a larger portion of the tooth, then a metal or porcelain crown may be used.
Inlays or onlays:
When cavities are too big for a normal filling, then an inlay or onlay is used.
Root canal is a more extensive procedure used when the pulp of a tooth is damaged or infected. In this procedure a filling material is inserted into the inner part of your tooth.
When a tooth can no longer be treated even with a root canal procedure, then you may have to go through a tooth extraction.
Tooth decay can be prevented with proper care. Follow a good oral care routine and visit the dentist often - at least once in six months. It is also important to use superior dental products such as Oral-B electric toothbrush for optimal oral health.