Is It Possible To Reverse A Cavity?

Visits to the dentist aren't usually at the top of anyone's list of favorite things to do. Getting dental x-rays and cleaning are part of good oral hygiene, so we go even when we don't want to. So when the dentist tells you that your teeth are cavity-free, you breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you've dodged unpleasant procedures and a hit to your wallet. But what if you could reverse a cavity? It turns out that there really are ways to make cavities disappear and avoid the added pain and cost that comes with them.

When we eat, bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugar from our meals and multiply. They form a film on the surfaces of our teeth that eventually get thicker, turning into plaque (via Medical News Today). Without proper care, the sticky plaque builds up on our teeth and can begin to cause decay in the enamel of your tooth. After awhile, that decay turns into a hole (via Healthline). If the decay gets worse, it can reach the soft tissue in your tooth and start to cause serious pain. Left untreated, a cavity can make its way to the deepest part of your tooth and may even form an abscess. As unpleasant as it sounds, cavities can usually be treated with fillings. In extreme cases, a cavity may require a root canal or even an extraction.

A few simple steps may save you from the drill

So how can you stop a cavity from turning into a bigger, more painful problem? Catch it early. If your dentist notices a spot where demineralization has started, you may still have a chance to turn things around. Good oral hygiene is the number one way that a cavity in its early stages can be reversed (via Healthline). Brushing and flossing are a given, but using products like mouthwash and toothpaste that contain fluoride can help remineralize the spot and make the tooth enamel stronger. Fluoride will help keep the spot from decaying any further.

Catching a cavity early may not always be possible, so the best way to prevent cavities from forming could just be to follow the recommendations of the American Dental Association. Drinking water with fluoride and using fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth at least twice a day will help remineralize teeth and keep bacteria production down (via ADA). Avoiding too many sugary foods and drinks can also starve bacteria of the sugar they need to form plaque. And of course, regular dental visits are important. Because the more you go to the dentist to prevent cavities, the less time you'll spend in the chair getting them treated.