Cavities are one of the most common dental woes faced by individuals of all ages and walks of life. In fact, 91% of Americans have had a cavity at least once in their lives and an astounding 27% of those have untreated cavities that they may not even be aware of.
With so many people suffering from cavities, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get rid of them. We’ve taken a look at the science behind cavities and separated the fact from fiction when it comes to curing this common oral hygiene issue.
Without further delay, let’s dive in and help you learn what cavities really are, how to get rid of cavities, and how to prevent them….
Put simply, a cavity is nothing more than a small hole in the hard surface of a tooth. Cavities are formed when common bacteria found in the mouth forms a sticky layer on the surface of the teeth, known as plaque, and converts the sugar that we eat into acid. This acid wears down and erodes our teeth by removing the minerals that make our enamel strong. Once the protective enamel has been penetrated, the acid will start eroding the dentin layer beneath the surface causing a cavity.
Before that bacteria reaches the inner dentin layer, the damage to the tooth’s enamel is known as a pre-cavity. Pre-cavities are the first sign of a potential problem and may be spotted by your dentist during your regular checkups. During this crucial time, preventative measures can still be taken. Once past the pre-cavity stage, however, some form of treatment is going to be required because an untreated cavity can eventually start to decay the pulp of the tooth, leading to much more serious conditions such as infections, pain, and even tooth loss.
While the threat of tooth loss or infection may sound dire, it’s easy to deal with those pesky cavities before they are allowed to reach the point of no return. You won’t be able to rid of any cavities on your own, however. There is only one tried and true method to get rid of a cavity once it’s formed, and that involves a trip to the dentist.
Once determining that a cavity is, in fact, present, your dentist will utilize a small drill to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. This is usually a quick and easy procedure, but in most cases, the use of local anesthesia will be used to minimize discomfort to the nerves in the teeth. After the area has been cleaned, your dentist will fill the resulting hole with a special, fluoride-inducing polymer. This will help restore the tooth’s strength and prevent and further decay in the area.
A quick google search will bring up countless articles about supposed miracle home cures for cavities. Could it possibly be true? Can you cure a cavity on your own at home?
Most of these supposed home remedies for cavities are a little misleading. They are not backed by any modern science and there is no proof sustaining such claims. There is no possible way to cure a cavity once it has reached the inner dentin layer of a tooth. The only sure method to remove a cavity and keep it from spreading is by visiting your dentist and having them remove the damaged area for you by performing a filling procedure.
Some of the commonly mentioned home remedies, such as making sure your vitamin D intake is sufficient and avoiding sugary foods and candies, do have merit however in cavity prevention or potentially reversing the effects of a pre-cavity. You can read more about dentist recommended cavity prevention methods below.
If you’ve discovered you have a cavity, it’s best to head straight to your dentist in order to have it taken care of properly. By treating your cavities right away, you reduce the risk of the decay reaching the inner pulp of the tooth.
To thoroughly eradicate the cavity and repair the afflicted tooth, your dentist will need to perform a filling procedure.
First, they will use a local anesthetic, such as Novocain, to numb the tooth and the surrounding tissues. This is because human teeth are full of nerves which can cause pain during treatment. Once numb, your dentist will use a small drill to remove the portion of the tooth with the cavity. Once all signs of decay have been removed, the hole is filled with a special polymer and sealed.
Just because there isn’t a magical home cure for cavities, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do in-between visits to your dentist to help keep them at bay. While home care won't cure a cavity that has already formed, a good oral hygiene routine can help stop cavities before they form!
Here is a quick guide to all the ways you can take preventative measures to stop cavities before they start. For a comprehensive guide to good oral hygiene, check out this handy oral hygiene checklist by Dr. John M. Chaves, DDS, one of the most highly recommended dentists for treating cavities in Woodland Hills, CA.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal
Use a fluoride mouthwash daily
Don’t forget to floss regularly
Don’t skip those regular checkups and cleanings
Eat foods that are rich in nutrients that promote healthy teeth, such as vitamin D
Chew on sugar-free gum after snacking
Drink tap water enriched with fluoride
Ask your dentist about dental sealants
Reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet
Talk to your dentist about fluoride and anti-bacterial treatments
By taking a few simple, yet highly effective steps you can reduce the risk of developing cavities. As they say, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of pain. Choose John M. Chaves, DDS, to get rid of your cavities for good!
If you suspect you may have a cavity, or even if you just want to schedule a checkup and cleaning to check for pre-cavities or other risk factors, John M. Chaves, DDS is one of the most trusted family dental practices in the Woodland Hills, CA area. His commitment to compassionate high-quality dental care for individuals and families is one of the reasons so many trust him and his team to help keep them smiling happy and healthy.