Can you Stop or Reverse the Cavity Process?
We all have that one week or so before our dentist appointment where we brush and floss consistently to avoid the dreaded question, “So how often are you brushing and flossing?”. However, have you ever wondered if cavities can be “reversed’ if they have already started? Can’t your toothbrush brush away the decay?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “…If you eat or drink often, especially foods or drinks containing sugar and starches -- the repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay. Tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva, and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources.” However, it should be noted that once decay reaches a certain point, the enamel cannot repair itself, and your dentist will need to restore the tooth with a permanent filling.
The key: catch cavities early!
This may seem obvious – but routinely observing the anatomy of your mouth can make you realize what abnormalities may be occurring. Often times, when a cavity is in the early stages of development (like a white spot) you won’t feel any pain or sensitivity, so it is important to know what is normal for your mouth!
Brush and floss regularly and effectively
Don’t simply glide over your teeth with your toothbrush and neglect your gums. It is important to angle the brush towards the gums, as this will prevent periodontal disease. Cavities often form on the interproximal surface between teeth, which is why flossing is so important. Flossing prevents decay from happening between the teeth, and reduces the risk for caries.
Try a fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. Fluoride prevents the loss of minerals and reduces the ability of bacteria to produce acid. Toothpaste or a mouth rinse is incredibly effective when trying to prevent cavities.
In a nutshell, it is important to always keep good oral hygiene to prevent cavities and ensure gum health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease or respiratory infections. Don’t wait to brush and floss right before the dentist, make oral hygiene a priority in your daily routine!