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Who does not like a great smile?
Everybody desires to have a healthy mouth. But it requires persistent and regular use of good dental practices such as using good quality toothbrush and toothpaste, regular flossing and eating healthy. This ensures protection against cavities. But in this busy life and a world full of sweet treats, people are bound to suffer from cavities. This leads to further tooth deterioration if not treated.
But not all cavities need medication. There are certain home remedies which if tried on a regular basis, may lead to help reduce cavities.
Now let us identify the cause of the cavity
What causes cavities?
Dental cavities manifest as tiny holes on the hard surface of our teeth. They are created by bacteria which exist on the surface of teeth and form acids from sugar. Amongst all bacteria that exist in our mouth, the most common culprit responsible for creating cavities is a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans.
These bacteria create a sticky coating known as plaque. The acids present in the plaque destroy minerals from the tooth enamel. Enamel is a coating on our teeth that is made up of mostly calcium and phosphate. Its erosion leads to the creation of tiny holes. Once this damage reaches the dentin layer of the tooth underneath the enamel, the cavity is formed.
Home remedies for cavities
It is believed that cavities are caused due to the lack of vitamin D in a person’s diet. Not getting enough amount of vitamin D might make your teeth more susceptible to cavities.
But there are other risk factors as well that lead to the problem of cavities. These include:
- Heartburn (because of acidity)
- Eating foods which cling to the teeth, such as candy and other sweet or savory foods
- Dry mouth or a medical condition which reduces the quantity of saliva in your mouth
- Bedtime infant feeding
- Lack of proper and regular cleaning of teeth
- Snacking on sugary foods and aerated drinks, such as soda, cereals, and ice cream
Once the cavity has penetrated, it is not possible to get rid of it at home. It needs a visit to the dentist to be cured.
The following home remedies help you to prevent cavities or to treat pre-cavities by re-mineralizing the weakened areas of the enamel before the actual cavity develops:
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is said to be very important in the absorption of calcium and phosphate present in the food that you eat. There is an inverse relationship between the process of eating foods that are high in vitamin D and calcium, such as yogurt, and cavities in young children. One can easily get vitamin D from dairy products, such as milk and yogurt. Vitamin D is also available in good quantities from the sun. But too much exposure to the sun is also not very good for the skin.
2. Oil pulling
This is considered to one of the ancient practices. It involves swishing around oil, be it sesame oil or coconut oil, in the mouth for around 20 minutes, and then spitting it out. It is believed that oil pulling aids in the removal of toxins from the mouth. Oil pulling with the help of sesame oil reduces the level of gingivitis, plaque, and other bacteria present in the mouth. It works just like a chlorhexidine mouthwash.
3. Chewing sugar-free gum
Chewing gum that is sugar-free, especially after having meals has been proved to help remineralize the tooth enamel. Gum which contains xylitol has been proven to help extensively in stimulating saliva flow in the mouth, raising the pH level of plaque, and decreasing the growth of S. mutants.
Sugar-free gum has a compound called casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). This component has been proven to reduce the amount of S. mutans even more rapidly than the xylitol-containing chewing gum. It is easy to find such type of gum in the stores. It is also available online.
4. Brushing teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride plays a very critical role in the process of preventing cavities as well as for remineralizing the tooth enamel. It is a proven fact that regularly brushing the teeth with fluoride-based toothpaste helps to prevent cavities to a great extent. Also brushing twice a day is more beneficial. This is especially true for infants and toddlers as they are more likely to get cavities due to bad oral health.
5. Licorice root
The extracts of the Chinese licorice plant (also known as Glycyrrhiza uralensis) can help you to combat bacteria that are responsible for dental cavities. Using licorice extract in any form is considered to be very effective in significantly reducing the growth of S. mutans present in the mouth and thus preventing cavities.
6. Reduce or eliminate sugary foods
The cavity remedy which no one actually likes to hear avoid eating too much sugar! WHO has suggested that consuming sugar is considered to be one of the most glaring risk factors that are responsible for the problem of cavities. WHO recommends reducing the sugar intake to almost less than 10 percent of the total caloric intake during the entire day. This gives a chance for teeth enamel to clean up the sticky bacteria and get back to normal health.
When to Visit the dentist ?
Many dental issues such as deep cavities have the potential to develop without letting the patient have any pain or any other symptoms. Having regular dental checkups are considered to be the best method to keep an eye on cavity before it starts to get worse. Early diagnosis means easier treatment.
In order to cure cavities, the dentist may adopt one or more of the below-mentioned methods:
a. Tooth extractions
When a tooth is severely decayed, this is the last measure which is used by the dentist. Generally, dentists always try to save a tooth. But if it is beyond repair then it has to be removed.
This is the main treatment which is undertaken when the cavity has progressed beyond the enamel.
c. Fluoride treatments
Professional fluoride treatments include more usage of fluoride than what is present in normal fluoride toothpaste and the mouth is rinsed thoroughly. One can easily buy this from a regular pharmacy store. If a stronger fluoride is required on a daily basis, then the dentist may prescribe one to be used.
d. Root canals
This method is used when tooth decay has reached the inner material of the tooth.
A crown is a custom-fitted covering, popularly known as a cap. This covering is placed on the tooth and is used in cases of bad tooth decay and cracked or worn out tooth.
Thus it can be seen that there are a number of home remedies for preventing cavities. However, it is important to note that extreme levels of cavities cannot be cured by home remedies and needs to be treated by a dentist. The earlier a cavity is detected, the easier it is for a dentist to repair it. Thus if home remedies do not seem to provide any relief, a visit to the doctor is recommended.