According to the dentist, there is only one way to treat tooth decay: drill the cavity and fill it up with some metal, porcelain or plastic. Is it possible to cure tooth decay naturally without any medical intervention?
Dental fillings are not the only way to cure tooth decay. The human tooth is designed to heal on its own, given the right conditions. There are things that we need to do and not do to give our teeth a chance to heal itself and prevent tooth decay.
Prevent Tooth Demineralisation
What Causes Tooth Demineralisation?
The tooth is protected by an outer white coating called the enamel. The tooth enamel protects the tooth from wear and tear. The tooth enamel is made up of a coating of various minerals, of which the main one is calcium phosphate.
Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and starches left in our mouth and in the process produce acids. There are also acids from eating fruits such as lemon or orange. These acids attack the tooth enamel, causing the minerals to dissolve, resulting in the softening and erosion of the tooth enamel.
This gradual erosion process is known as tooth demineralisation. The erosion of the tooth enamel allows the bacteria in the mouth to penetrate deeper into the tooth, eventually causing cavities to form. If nothing is done to heal the tooth decay, the cavity will become bigger and the dentin layer of the tooth is exposed. Further decay will eventually expose the soft pulp and nerve of the tooth causing pain.
Ways to Prevent Tooth Demineralisation
The acids in the mouth cause the teeth enamel to erode and eventually lead to tooth decay. If the acids are neutralised, the tooth has the chance to repair itself and cure the tooth decay naturally. The following are suggested ways to prevent demineralisation of the tooth enamel:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day especially before going to bed.
- Floss the teeth or use an interdental brush to remove food and plaque from gaps of teeth not reachable by a toothbrush.
- Use antibacterial mouth rinse that has enamel protecting properties.
- Use toothpaste that has properties that repair and protect tooth enamel such as calcium, silica and NovaMin.
- Avoid taking carbonated drinks and juice as they have high sugar content which causes excessive plaque and tartar build-up which may result in cavities.
- Avoid foods that have high acid content and cut down on sugar intake especially refined sugar.
- Avoid doing things that weaken the tooth enamel such as chewing ice.
Tooth Remineralisation – Can It Happen?
Given the right conditions, tooth demineralisation can be reversed. This reverse process is called tooth remineralisation. It occurs when the lost calcium from the tooth is being replaced. The enamel can repair itself once the erosion stops and calcium is being replaced. In order for tooth remineralisation to take place, the following conditions must be present:
1. The surface of the tooth must be clean.
An oral hygiene routine is necessary to keep the teeth clean. A daily oral hygiene routine includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your teeth once a day and using a mouthwash after brushing and flossing your teeth.
2. There must be a sufficient flow of saliva in the mouth.
The presence of saliva in our mouth is very important to our oral health as saliva is our first line of defence against cavity. Minerals in the saliva cleanse our teeth by getting rid of the bacteria in our mouth. Throughout the day, saliva in our mouth constantly deposits minerals such as calcium and phosphorus onto our teeth. These minerals bind with the tooth enamel and strengthen the tooth.
Saliva also helps to maintain the alkaline state of our mouth, keeping it at an ideal level of pH of 7.5 to 8.5, which is conducive for tooth remineralisation. Dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth is usually caused by medications and other health conditions. Prolonged dry mouth condition can affect one’s oral health. If you have dry mouth, chewing on sugarless gum may help to stimulate the increase in saliva.
3. There must be sufficient calcium and other minerals present in the saliva.
To have sufficient minerals in your saliva, you will need to have a healthy diet that supports remineralisation and also take the supplements that help to remineralise the teeth. It is not enough just to avoid food that is high in sugar to avoid cavities. We need food that is high in calcium, minerals and vitamins to help our teeth heal on its own.
Help Your Tooth Remineralise – Change Your Diet
Eating foods and beverages that are high in sugar and acid contents, creates an ideal environment for tooth decay to take place. Dental plaque is a sticky and colourless film which is formed when remaining food particles especially carbohydrates are mixed with saliva and bacteria. Plaque is found between the teeth and along the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the remaining foods and in the process produce acids which erode the tooth enamel causing cavities to form. Therefore, the impact of certain foods and drinks on your oral health cannot be ignored.
If you are currently consuming foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, it is time to consider changing your diet and cut down on your sugar intake. There are studies done to suggest that a change in diet can reverse tooth decay. Make some adjustments to your diet by avoiding foods that promote tooth demineralisation and consuming more foods that are high in calcium and other minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2.
Avoid Foods That Harm Your Teeth
Some foods harm your teeth and should be avoided if possible. Foods that are bad for the teeth include the following:
1. Candies and sweets
Candies and snacks such as cookies, cakes and other sweet desserts contain a lot of sugar which the bacteria in the mouth love. Constantly eating a lot of this sweet stuff will eventually lead to tooth decay.
2. Foods made from refined carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are also known as starch or sugars. Carbohydrates are classified as simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are easily digested and absorbed by the body, while complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break it down.
Refined carbohydrates, for example, white flour, are grains that have gone through a refining process which removes the dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. As a result of the refining process, the grain transforms from a complex carbohydrate into a simple carbohydrate. The starch from simple carbohydrates tends to get trapped in between the teeth, making it an ideal feeding ground for bacteria. Examples of foods made from white flour are bread, pasta, crackers or chips.
3. Beverages with added sugar
Beverages that have added sugar include carbonated soft drinks, fruit juice made from concentrates and energy drinks. Carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks are not only laden with sugar, but they also contain carbonic, citric and phosphoric acids which will wear out the tooth enamel.
4. Caffeinated Drinks
Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea tend to dry up the mouth. Frequent drinking of coffee or tea will stain your teeth. Besides these, coffee is acidic while most teas are mildly acidic. Avoid taking sugar with your coffee or tea.
5. Dried fruits
Dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, raisins and cranberry are considered as healthy snacks. However, dried fruits are very sweet because when the water is removed from the fruits, the sugars in the fruits are concentrated. The concentrated sugars are sticky and tend to get stuck in between the teeth.
6. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime and pomelo are high in citric acid. The high acidic content tends to make the teeth vulnerable to decay as the acids erode the tooth enamel.
If all the above-mentioned cannot be avoided altogether, reduce the frequency and quantity of consumption. After eating any of these foods, floss your teeth and rinse your mouth. Do not brush your teeth immediately after taking acidic food as the acids have softened your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth at this time will further damage your tooth enamel.
Eat Foods That Help Cure Tooth Decay Naturally
The key factor in preventing and reversing tooth decay is a correct and healthy diet comprising of foods and supplements that help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin K2 and magnesium help cure tooth decay naturally. The essentials nutrients for healthy teeth are found in the following foods:
1. Dairy products
Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt contain calcium, vitamin D and phosphates which are essential minerals for healthy teeth. As calcium is the main ingredient found in the tooth enamel, lack of calcium in your diet expose a risk of tooth decay.
2. Vegetables and fruits
Most vegetables and fruits are high in fibre and chewing on such food keeps the saliva flowing. Saliva is a natural defence against tooth decay. The saliva also gets rid of food participles and helps neutralise the acids that attack your teeth.
Dark green leafy vegetables are not only a source of high fibre, they also contain amongst other nutrients, vitamins D and K and calcium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy set of teeth. Examples of dark green leafy vegetables include kale, spinach, mustard, romaine lettuce and watercress.
3. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with lots of nutrients including protein, vitamins and minerals. Calcium and magnesium found in nuts and seeds are important nutrients to help remineralise the teeth and prevent tooth decay. Do opt for nuts that are unsalted and not sugar-coated.
4. Fish and Eggs
Fish is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D. Eggs too contain calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. These nutrients are essential for keeping the teeth healthy.
5. Bone broth
Bone broth is made from simmering animal bones in water. Bone itself is a great source of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Regular consumption of bone broth not only helps to strengthen bones including teeth and jawbones but also protects the joints as the gelatine in the broth helps increase the amount of collagen in the bone tissues.
It’s Time To Save Your Pearly Whites
Why go through pain and spend so much money on dental treatment when you can use natural ways to prevent cavities and heal tooth decay. Tooth decay can be reversed while the cavities are in the early stages. Do not allow the tooth decay to continue until pain is felt in the tooth, which by then the cavity is too large and cannot be remineralised. In this case, a visit to the dentist is inevitable.
Yes, it is possible to keep your natural teeth for life. The first step in saving your teeth is to develop and maintain an oral health routine. Maintaining a healthy set of teeth requires lifetime care. Just like we need to wash our body and hair daily, we will need to follow a daily oral hygiene routine to keep our teeth clean and healthy.
Food and supplements play a part in providing nutrients to our body including our teeth. Develop a habit to eat healthy foods and beverages and avoid foods that harm our teeth. Take supplements containing vitamins and minerals that help our teeth to remineralise and keep our gums healthy.
Get into the habit of rinsing your mouth after each meal to get rich of food particles. Floss or use an interdental brush for food that stuck in between the teeth. If you have taken foods or drinks with high acidity such as citrus fruits and soda water, rinse your mouth immediately after consuming such foods to get rid of the acid from your mouth.
Thus, saving and maintaining your natural teeth is simply about good eating habits and having a good oral hygiene. Being able to maintain these two good habits ensure that you have your pearly white with you for life.