Are cavities reversible?

Cavities are painful; sometimes, they are the product of bad dental hygiene and an indicator of someone with a sweet tooth! Dentists always warn patients about cavities. Toothpaste adverts are centred on preventing cavities.

But, are these painful holes in the teeth reversible?

It turns out; the answer is yes. They are. Well sort of.

Once the hole is in the tooth, it cannot be naturally reversed, although you can get fillings inserted at the dentist. However, you can definitely reverse the decay before a cavity forms and ensure that the cavity is stopped in its tracks.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a hole that forms in the enamel, also known as the surface of the tooth. It is from long-term decay and is painful because it exposes the nerve underneath.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a tooth that is frequently exposed to acid from food and sugary beverages is at high risk of developing a cavity. The repeated exposure to the acid causes the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay. At this point of erosion, the decay can be managed and even reversed.

With the proper fluoride-rich products (which can usually be obtained over the counter), constant treatment and proper oral care can help prevent a cavity. It is never too late to start taking care of your teeth!

Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources.

Unfortunately, if the process of the developing cavity isn’t remedied soon, more minerals will be lost. The enamel will be destroyed and a cavity will form. You could lose the tooth!

There are natural ways to prevent cavities

Avoid sugary treats as much as possible. Gooey, sugary and syrupy luxuries are in fact difficult to clean, and owing to the many crevices between the teeth, the sugar can stick to the enamel if not rinsed away and that is the start of the cavities and decay.

Dr Axe explains that not only does sugar feed oral bacteria that prevent a healthy flow of dental fluids, but it’s highly acidic and can literally decalcify or demineralise the structural content of teeth that create dental decay.  

Eliminate Phytic Acid from our diet!

The lesser mentioned enemy of enamel is Phytic Acid, which is found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans. It is a natural mineral blocker and enzyme inhibitor that creates mineral deficiencies and causes conditions like osteoporosis. It has also been linked to digestion problems, tooth decay, nutrient deficiency, particularly with zinc and magnesium absorption.

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient technique that became very popular in the mainstream about a decade ago. Eastern medicine practitioners encourage people to remove toxins from the body through a simple technique, and it does wonders for the mouth too.

The method removes impurities and decay-causing sugars and bacteria from the mouth. 

All you need to do is to put a tablespoon of oil (a pure oil like coconut or castor oil). Swish it around for as long as you can. Experts suggest at least 20 minutes.

You can add a drop or two of clove and/or tea tree essential oils for maximum antiseptic and antifungal power. This also helps eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath. 

Though it tastes pretty gross, the pay-off is worth it.
Do it twice a day, before brushing your teeth (once in the morning and then again in the evening before bed).

Spit out the oil and rinse out your mouth with warm water immediately after. Do not swallow it! The oil may have changed colour. This is normal. What you are seeing is the impurities from your mouth. Use saltwater to rinse for added antimicrobial properties, then brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out with mouthwash.

Turmeric, cloves and garlic

Turmeric is a popular antibacterial herb and is used in many natural medicines. It is derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and naturally antiseptic. 

Used topically, it can destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay. You can make a paste by adding a few drops of oil to a tablespoon of turmeric. Mix well into a paste and apply to your teeth and gums. 

You can massage it into the gums, or just leave it to soak. It also doesn’t have a very good taste, but try to leave it on for at least 15 minutes. Rinse it out and brush your teeth. 

Garlic also has antibacterial properties, because of the active ingredient called alicin.  Chew a clove, or cut it up and add it to boiled water. Once cooled, drink it. Do this once a week to fight inflammation. 

Cloves not only fight bacteria and stop cavities, but clove oil can also help with toothache. According to Right to Remedies, cloves strengthen the gum tissue and prevent already developed cavities from getting larger.

Affinity Dental

To really keep a handle on your dental health, having dental insurance in your back pocket could make it affordable to get check-ups and medical intervention whenever you need it. 

The best course of action is to have a strict brushing, flossing and rinsing routine, while eating a healthy, whole-food diet. Get your teeth checked at least once every six months, so that your dentist can catch any developing cavities in their infancy and nip them in the bud. 

Affinity Dental is one of the first and fastest-growing dental insurance providers in the country. It offers customers three different cover options, tailored to match consumers’ unique needs and budgets.

There are three tiers to choose from, all of which can be found on the official Affinity Dental website.

Benefits are subject to a three-month waiting period from the commencement date unless stated otherwise, and pre-existing conditions are subject to a twelve-month waiting period from the commencement date across all three plans.

Affinity Dental plans do not substitute or replace a medical scheme, and the cover is not the same as that of a medical scheme. Subject to Demarcation Regulations, Affinity Dental does not refuse membership on the basis of any means of discrimination.

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