Can You Brush Away A Cavity?

This blog post will address the topic, “can you brush away a cavity” and cover topics like what is a dental cavity, how does cavity develop, preventing cavity formation, when and how often should you brush your teeth, when is the best time to brush your teeth, the correct tooth brushing techniques to avoid cavities, when and how often should children brush their teeth to prevent cavities, which toothbrush is better in preventing caries:manual or electric and how tooth brushing prevents cavities.

Can You Brush Away A Cavity

A cavity is a permanent damage of the enamel layer that needs to be repaired by using filling materials like composite or porcelain or an amalgam.

Once you have a cavity, it is not possible to brush it away. However, it can be filled and prevented from further damaging your tooth.

What Is A Dental Cavity?

Dental Cavity or tooth cavity, is a hole that develops on the surface of the tooth due to loss of mineral content from the enamel, resulting from the repeated acid attack by the plaque bacteria.

How Does A Cavity Develop?

Consumption of sugary and starch rich foods expose the tooth to acids frequently, resulting in mineral loss from the enamel.

Infrequent tooth brushing habits cause poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque accumulation.

Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that coats the protective enamel of your teeth. These bacteria produce acids by breaking down the food debris and the acids penetrate the enamel leading to formation of white spots on the teeth.

Appearance of white spot is an indication of the start of tooth cavity formation and can be reversed at this point.

Ignoring it and continuing with the poor oral hygiene can cause more frequent acid attacks and finally destroying the enamel leading to formation of cavities.

A cavity is a permanent damage of the enamel layer that needs to be repaired by using filling materials like composite or porcelain or an amalgam.

How Can We Prevent Cavities From Developing?

Cavities can be prevented! Yes. You just need to follow basic oral hygiene practices on a daily basis.

Few oral hygiene practices for preventing cavity preparation are mentioned below:

Choose an appropriate toothbrush

Choosing an appropriate toothbrush is the first and most important step towards toothbrushing. Yet, this is neglected by most of the people.

Toothbrushes with more rounded bristles are soft to your teeth and are considered to be an ideal toothbrush to use. 

Do Not Immediately Brush after Eating Acidic Foods

You must wait for 30 minutes to one hour after consumption of acidic foods and drinks. The acid in the food or drink otherwise may erode the enamel layer and regular habit may cause exposed dentin leading to pain and sensitivity and increased risk of developing cavities.

Use Gentle and Short Strokes When Brushing Your Teeth

Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth and thoroughly clean your mouth without abrading the enamel.

Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces. Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.

Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride can greatly help achieve oral and dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. 

Fluoride reduces the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on your mouth. 

Floss Daily To Get Maximum Benefits Out Of Tooth Brushing

Many people, despite knowing the benefits of flossing daily, just neglect it.

According to a study, flossing is highly effective in reducing the interproximal caries risk. 

Daily floss can help stimulate your gums and reduce plaque leading to lesser inflammation risk.

Consider mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes as the name suggests have therapeutic action and control dental conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontal diseases. They also help remove halitosis.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes contain ADA listed active ingredients such as fluoride, peroxide, essential oils, cetylpyridinium chloride, and chlorhexidine, all regulated by the FDA.

Consult Your Dentist Twice In A Year

It is important to get your oral health checked twice every year with an interval of 6 months between two visits.

Your dentist can help remove calculus and locate cavities and will also be able to spot potential oral health issues, if any, and offer treatment solutions.

Why Do I Keep Getting Cavities If I Brush My Teeth?

You keep getting cavities even if you brush your teeth because either you are not brushing with a proper technique or there may be several pits and grooves present on the occlusal surface of your teeth.

The food particles get stuck in these pits and grooves, not possible to remove from brushing, resulting in plaque buildup, acid attacks on enamel by plaque bacteria and finally cavities formation.

Visit your dentist to get those pits and grooves sealed to prevent formation of cavities.

All About Tooth Brushing To Prevent Cavities

Does Brushing Your Teeth Everyday Prevent Cavities?

Yes, brushing your teeth twice everyday for two minutes each time, prevents plaque buildup and is regarded as the simplest way of preventing cavities.

The Correct Brushing Technique To Avoid Cavity Formation

Here is how you can brush your teeth two times a day with correct technique and avoid formation of cavity and dental decay:

  1. Use a small amount of water to lubricate your brush. 
  1. Put a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush head.
  1. At about a 45-degree angle to your gums , place the toothbrush into your mouth 
  1. Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth.
  1. Brush the outside surfaces as well as the back molars and upper areas of your chewing surfaces.
  1. Brush the inside surfaces of both top and bottom front teeth by flipping your toothbrush upside down.
  1. Brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria or plaque.
  1. Spit out the remaining toothpaste, saliva, and water into the sink. 
  1. Rinse your mouth with cold water and you are done.

When And How Often Should Children Brush Their Teeth To Prevent Cavities?

It is important for infants and children to prevent cavities and maintain good oral hygiene for a good overall health and development.

Use a soft-bristled infant toothbrush with a rice grain size of fluoride toothpaste for brushing their teeth.

Children 3 to 6 years old can brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, for 2 minutes each time using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.

It is important to supervise the brushing sessions of Infants and children, to prevent them from swallowing the fluoride toothpaste.

Which Is More Beneficial In Preventing Cavities: Manual Or Electric Toothbrush?

A 2014 study concluded that electric toothbrushes with rotating heads may be more effective in cavities prevention by reducing plaque and gingivitis more than manual brushes in the short and long term. 

However, it is important to choose your toothbrush according to your mouth and gum condition. 

If using a manual toothbrush, a soft-bristled toothbrush is good to clean your teeth as using a hard-bristled toothbrush may abrade the enamel and lead to dental abrasion and recession of gums.

Replace your toothbrush after every 3 months or as soon as you notice the bristles of your toothbrush beginning to bend, fray, and wear out. 

How Tooth Brushing Prevents Cavity From Forming?

Brushing prevents Plaque Build Up

Brushing just once a day, either in the morning or at night, does not remove the food bits that remain stuck on your teeth.

 As a result, the food debris is attacked by the bacteria forming a layer of plaque on your teeth and gums. The bacteria breaks down the food and releases acid.

The acid released erodes the enamel and weakens it to form cavities and thus resulting in tooth decay and gingival bleeding.

Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before going to bed, for two minutes is essential to prevent plaque build up and thereby prevent tooth decay.

Brushing Prevents Tartar Buildup

Tartar is a calcified plaque on your teeth that forms when plaque is left undisturbed for about a day.

Brushing twice a day compared to brushing just once, removes the plaque before it hardens and calcifies to become tartar.

Tartar once formed, teeth become yellow and more prone to bacterial attack and decay and other periodontal diseases.


This blog post addressed the topic, “can you brush away a cavity”. We understood what a cavity is, how cavities develop and practices for preventing cavity formation. The article addressed all tooth brushing questions concerning cavity prevention including the correct tooth brushing technique for cavity prevention.


Can a cavity heal on its own?

No, a cavity cannot heal or go away on its own without taking necessary prevention steps.

If the cavity is just in its initial stage where the white spot is visible on the tooth, it is the time to take preventive actions such as toothbrushing, mouth washing and flossing daily.

At stage one, when the white spot has just appeared, the cavity can be reversed with proper oral hygiene.

However, if ignored, the cavity will progress down the enamel surface, reach the dentin and may even progress to pulp to cause pain, sensitivity and even tooth loss.

Does brushing a cavity make it worse?

No, brushing is essential to maintain a proper oral hygiene and prevent cavities from forming and if already formed, prevents its progression. 

Brushing your teeth twice everyday for two minutes each time, prevents plaque buildup and is regarded as the simplest way of preventing cavities.

How Fast Do Cavities Grow?

The cavities grow as fast as six months or may take longer ranging from four to five years, depending on the condition of your oral cavity.

Do Cavities Spread?

No, cavities do not spread but may result from the same cause once again on another tooth.

Cavities do not spread from one tooth to another but may be caused by the same process and under the same conditions if proper treatment and oral hygiene is not maintained.

What are the stages of a cavity?

The cavity formation takes place in 5 stages:


  • Appearance of the white spots on the surface of the tooth as the mineral loss begins from enamel due to bacterial acid attack.
  • This stage can be reversed with preventive actions and maintaining good oral hygiene.


  • If the white spots are ignored and no preventive actions are initiated, the repeated acid attacks wear down the mineral and enamel is decayed
  • Visible hole is seen and now the cavity becomes irreversible.


  • The decay moves down further and attacks the inner soft dentin
  • This is called as Advanced Cavity Stage
  • Slight pain and sensitivity starts


  • In this stage, the decay finally reaches the pulp and irritates the nerves
  • Pain, sometimes excruciating, Sensitivity and Discomfort is seen in this stage.
  • Root Canal is the only treatment option other than extraction.


  • After pulp involvement, if treatment is not initiated, the infection spreads to the surrounding structures of the tooth and inflammation is caused
  • Extreme pain and even tooth loss may result

Other FAQs about Teeth Cavities that you may be interested in.

Can Dental Cavities Heal Naturally?

Can kissing cause cavities?

Can kissing cause someone to get cavities?


The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. (2018)

5 Amazingly Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Cavities. (2017)

Frequency of Daily Tooth Brushing and Development of any Type of Malignancy DAIKI KOBAYASHI, OSAMU TAKAHASHI, TAKURO SHIMBO Anticancer Research Aug 2019, 39 (8) 4415-4421; DOI: 10.21873/anticanres.13613

Why Do We Brush Twice A Day?


When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth. (2020)

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth? (2021)

Attin, Thomas, and Else Hornecker. “Tooth brushing and oral health: how frequently and when should tooth brushing be performed?.” Oral health & preventive dentistry 3.3 (2005).

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!