Can You Fix Tooth Decay?

We brush our teeth twice a day, floss, use oral rinses and keep twice yearly appointments with the dentist to keep our mouths healthy.  But some of us still struggle with tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.  Once the dentist has determined that we have tooth decay, what can we do about it?

Tooth decay is a bacterial infection in your mouth and the bacteria uses the sugars in food and drinks to produce acid.  The acid wears away the protective enamel on your teeth and can cause cavities

Tooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids. Over time, these acids can make a cavity in the tooth.

Our mouths have a natural defense against tooth decay by using minerals to help the enamel repair the damage from the acid.  Calcium and phosphate in our saliva as well as fluoride from water and toothpaste replace the minerals lost from the bacteria’s acid production. This back and forth of minerals lost and gained happens all day long in our mouths.

When the enamel fails to replace the minerals lost, the tooth may develop a white spot where the enamel is weakening.  The white spot is an indication that tooth decay is in its early stages, but at this point, tooth decay can be both stopped and even reversed. Using toothpaste with fluoride and eating a diet with less sugars and starches can help your enamel reverse the damage.  If the enamel continues to give way, then the tooth decay will lead to permanent damage.  Cavities can’t be reversed, only repaired by the dentist, usually with a filling or a crown.

How can we help prevent tooth decay from becoming a cavity?

There are many steps you can take to ensure that any tooth decay in its early stages is reversed and stopped before it becomes a more serious cavity.  Here are some of the best ways to repair tooth decay:

  • Fluoride

Your community water supply is often a source of fluoride because 74 percent of Americans have a fluoridated water supply.  If you have well water, there are other ways to incorporate fluoride into your body.  Many toothpastes use fluoride as an active ingredient to help prevent and treat tooth decay.  If the dentist is still concerned about improving your fluoride levels, the dentist may recommend fluoride gel, fluoride tablets or even a fluoride mouth rinse.

  • Choosing Foods and Drinks Wisely

Because the bacteria that causes tooth decay feeds off of sugar from food and drinks, taking care to eat unprocessed foods low in sugar and starches will help prevent the bacteria from producing troublesome acid.  Reducing the number of times you eat between meals reduces the number of times the bacteria has to grow.  Try to enjoy candy, desserts, soda and other sugary treats for special occasions.  Keep your fruit juice consumption to a minimum and do not eat or drink anything before bed after you brush your teeth.

  • At Home Dental Care

Brush twice a day, floss and use oral rinses to keep your mouth as healthy as possible between dental cleanings.

  • Regular Dental Appointments

More on Tooth Decay : Stages of Tooth Decay