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Reversing and Arresting Tooth Decay

In some cases, reversing and arresting tooth decay is possible through remineralization. When small dental cavities are caught early in the dysbiosis and demineralization process, improvements in diet, changes in how we are breathing, product protocols and good oral hygiene can help restore the minerals in your teeth, halt decay, and restore weakened enamel, and strengthen the tooth’s outer layer (remineralization).

Causes of Cavities

Plaque and acid sitting on the teeth cause cavities. In fact, pathogenic (bad) bacteria in the mouth produce acids that eat away at a tooth’s enamel. This enamel erosion then causes demineralization and tooth decay. As a result, small holes (dental cavities) begin to form in the tooth.

Most Common Symptoms of a Cavity

  • The most common symptoms of a cavity include:
  • Pain in the tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Toothache
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Small hole in the tooth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)

Prevalence of Tooth Decay

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cavities are largely preventable and are one of the most common chronic diseases throughout the lifespan.

The CDC further reports that:

  • One-fourth of young children, half of adolescents, and more than 90 percent of adults have experienced tooth decay.
  • Untreated tooth decay has affected 10 percent of young children to 26 percent of adults aged 20-64.
  • Untreated tooth decay can lead to an abscess (a severe infection) under the gums, spreading to other parts of the body, having serious results.

Remineralize and Reverse Small Cavities

Remineralization and reversal of small cavities generally only work in the early stages of tooth decay. Here are ten ways to reverse your cavity at home and prevent future decay:

  • Use hydroxyapatite toothpaste. This fluoride-free toothpaste is just as effective at cavity prevention as fluoride toothpaste without the potential side effects. Hydroxyapatite balances your oral microbiome and makes it more difficult for bacteria to attach to teeth.
  • Eat a tooth-friendly diet. The best way to prevent cavities is to eat a diet that strengthens your teeth while practicing proper oral hygiene. Opt for remineralization-friendly foods that are rich in vitamin D, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants to “get rid of” small cavities. These foods include whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grass-fed dairy and meats, pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, and fermented foods.
  • Floss nightly. An often-overlooked daily task, flossing, cannot be emphasized enough and not only prevents cavities in between our teeth (where we see them a majority of the time!), but it also combats gum disease, which is linked to multiple systemic issues like Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Cancer, some Autoimmune Diseases and more. Floss is Boss.
  • Use Ozone. Find a Dentist who uses ozone water and gas in their office and consider purchasing ozone oil at home. Ozone is an antimicrobial agent that can be used in dentistry to kill bacteria and other pathogens, heal gingivitis, arrest and initiate decay reversal, and it can help shift your oral microbiomes out of dysbiosis and into balance.
    • Bonus: Shop for ozone oil and use discount code Doctorstaci for 15 percent off.
  • Try oil pulling. Swish organic oil (such as coconut oil) in your mouth for a few minutes or up to 20 minutes for more comprehensive benefits, then spit it out (do not swallow it). Oil pulling has shown to be effective in reducing plaque formation, combating gingivitis, fighting halitosis, and reducing harmful bacteria in your oral microbiome.
  • Chew oral probiotics. An oral probiotic can boost the number of helpful bacteria in your mouth, and chewing them is the most effective delivery system. They are best taken in the morning, right after you brush your teeth.
    • Bonus: Shop hyperbiotics for oral probiotics for kids for $15 off your first purchase.
  • Breathe through your nose. Breathing through the nose keeps the mouth moisturized and provides valuable nitric oxide that helps the body heal and supports cardiovascular health. Mouth breathing or sleep disorders can cause the oral tissue to dry out, reducing the saliva that protects the teeth and leaving the teeth exposed to decay.
  • Consider dental sealants. Technique and materials matter. Dental sealants are thin coatings that adhere to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. Covering the molars, and sometimes the premolars, can be an excellent option for certain high-risk patients, keeping bacteria and food particles out of the deep grooves and fissures and providing added protection for hard-to-reach teeth.
  • Ensure adequate nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamins D3 and K2 are two critical nutrients for oral health. Together, they help build healthy enamel and dentin layers, contributing to a robust outer surface for the tooth. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, in general, are critical for dental and jaw development, as shown through the work of Dr. Weston Price. Dr. Steven Lin also goes into great detail about nutrients needed for optimal oral health in his excellent book, The Dental Diet. Other focus areas are Trace Minerals, Pre and Probiotics, Vit C, CoQ10, B Vitamins, Calcium, and Zinc. “Eat the Rainbow” daily!
    • Bonus: Shop for Trace Minerals and use discount code Staci15 for 15 percent off.
  • See your dentist regularly. Schedule your twice-yearly visits with your dentist. Regular check-ups and cleanings can help catch cavities early when they can still be remineralized with home remedies. Once tooth decay damages the deeper dentin of your teeth or reaches the nerve or pulp of the tooth, you will need to see a dentist for treatment.

Want more free dental health tips and tricks?

Doctor Staci Whitman is a board-certified pediatric dentist based in Portland, Oregon, on a mission to create a cavity-free world. She dreams of a world without cavities and believes in motivating families to join her as a team in keeping their children healthy and thriving with small, manageable daily changes.

For more free dental health tips and tricks, follow Doctor Staci on Instagram or TikTok.