Can you keep a cavity from getting worse?

This blogpost will answer the question Can you keep a cavity from getting worse? And will include the following topics: What Is a Cavity?

What causes cavities?

Preventing a Cavity From Getting Worse

How a dentist prevents a cavity from getting worse

What Happens if You Don’t Treat a Cavity?

Getting rid of cavities at home

Can you keep a cavity from getting worse?

Yes, you can keep a cavity from getting worse. A cavity should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed only by a dentist, however you can take some measures to slow down the progression of the decay until it is treated,

What Is a Cavity?

Cavities are small openings or holes that develop on the surface of the tooth due to tooth decay. Tooth decay is called dental caries and happens due to the acid attack by the bacteria present in the mouth. Tooth decay starts from the top layer protective layer that is the enamel and if not treated, progresses deep into the tooth upto the root and even the bone.

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What causes cavities?

Caries, or dental cavities, are small holes in the hard surface of the teeth. They are caused by bacteria on the surface of the teeth that produce acid from sugar. Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria, is the most prevalent cause.

Plaque is a sticky coating formed by the bacteria. Plaque acids destroy minerals from (demineralize) your enamel, which is a calcium and phosphate-based layer on your teeth. This erosion creates microscopic holes in the enamel. A cavity arises when the acid damage penetrates into the dentin layer underneath the enamel.

Preventing a Cavity From Getting Worse

Brush Carefully

One should brush at least twice a day. If you already have a cavity or are susceptible to developing one, it becomes even more important to develop a regular brushing habit. And always try to focus on the teeth present at the back because that is where the food accumulates majorly.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated keeps your mouth moist and lubricated thereby decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Water also washes away food particles that may be stuck on teeth or other oral surfaces.

Use Fluoride

Fluoride prevents bacteria from growing and remineralizes the enamel and makes the teeth  strong thereby helping prevent cavities. If you’re able to identify a cavity early on and a fluoride treatment, it can help slow the tooth decay.

Rinse With Salt Water

salt water can aid in the destruction of bacteria that cause cavities, it has antibacterial characteristics which can  help halt the growth of a cavity.

Avoid Refined Sugars

Sugar is the major culprit when it comes to cavities. The bacteria in the mouth produce acid as soon as it comes in contact with sugar.The longer sugar stays in the mouth,the longer bacteria keep on producing acid. If you already have a cavity, it is best to avoid sugar and even if you do eat it in any form make sure to rinse your mouth with water. 

Chew Xylitol Gum

Xylitol is a natural alcohol that destroys bacteria and fights off infections. Chewing gum containing xylitol after eating can help prevent cavities

How a dentist prevents a cavity from getting worse

Fillings

Fillings are the first line of defence when it comes to cavity therapy. It is one of the more cost-effective treatments available at any dental facility, and it efficiently prevents cavities from growing larger. A filling is a substance that is put into cavities and utilised to fill the holes that are left behind.

A local anaesthetic will be injected into the region around the tooth, and any deteriorated tooth materials around the cavity will be removed. The region is cleansed, and the filling is placed in the cavity immediately. It’s shaped to your specifications and hardens as it comes into contact with air and saliva. Silver amalgam, composites, and ceramics are all frequent filler materials.

Composite resins

When it comes to filling cavities, composite resins are becoming increasingly popular. The dentist will choose a composite that matches the colour of the patient’s natural teeth, and it will be put to the tooth after it has been roughened with an etching solution.

The composite is moulded to your specifications and then hardened using a special light. It’s nearly hard to know whether someone has ever had a cavitation with composites.

Crowns

Crowns are often used to treat the most severe cavities. When a patient fails to receive cavity therapy, it is frequently essential. As a result, the cavity grows to the point where it affects the tooth’s structure. If the dentist is concerned that the tooth would ultimately fracture if force is applied to it, the tooth may be given additional protection in the form of a crown.

What Happens if You Don’t Treat a Cavity?

Untreated cavity can lead to some serious issues, such as

A Bad Cavity Can Bring Further Decay

Ignoring a cavity will only give it more time to grow and cause more decay. And as the cavity grows in size it starts spreading to adjacent teeth. This process will go on and multiple teeth become at risk of developing the decay and also there are more chances to develop conditions like gingivitis and periodontitis. In such situations you may even need to undergo multiple extractions..

How Serious Cavities Impact Your Nerves

If cavities are left untreated they eventually reach the pulp,where all the nerve endings of the tooth are present. This can result in excruciating  pain and you may also experience extreme tooth sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks and even air. When this stage of tooth decay is reached, you will have to undergo a root canal treatment and sometimes even an extraction.

Infection from a Bad Cavity

The bacteria from the decay can cause infection in the mouth and jaw. This can lead to pain, facial swelling, restricted mouth opening, loss of appetite and other health concerns. 

Illness and Death

It is always a possibility for the infection from an untreated cavity to enter the body. You can develop different organ infections if this happens, like kidney infections, stomach infections and sometimes even life-threatening issues like cardiovascular problems.

A cavity should not be left untreated in any case, and that’s why you need to keep a check on your oral habits and your oral health.

Getting rid of cavities at home

Many home remedies are based on research that claims that a lack of vitamin D in the diet causes cavities. In this study, children who increased their vitamin D intake had fewer cavities. Those who increased vitamin D to their diets while also eliminating grain products had the highest effects. This is probably due to the fact that grains can stick to the teeth.

Vitamin D deficiency may make teeth more prone to cavities, but we now know that this is only one component of the picture. Other variables that might cause cavities include:

Dry mouth or having a medical condition that reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth.

Eating foods that cling to teeth, like candy and sticky foods

Frequent snacking on sugary foods or drinks, like soda, cereals, and ice cream

Heartburn (due to acid)

Inadequate cleaning of teeth

Bedtime infant feeding

Once a cavity has penetrated the dentin, you won’t be able to get rid of it at home. The following home remedies might help prevent cavities or treat “pre-cavities” by remineralizing weakened areas of your enamel before a cavity develops:

Sugar-free gum

Clinical research has demonstrated that chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help remineralize enamel. Gum containing xylitol has been widely studied for its capacity to increase saliva flow, elevate plaque pH, and decrease S. mutans.

Sugar-free gum contains the compound casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) which has been demonstrated to decrease S. mutans even more than xylitol-containing chewing gum.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphate from diet. According to research, there is an inverse link between eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium, such as yoghurt, and cavities in young children. Dairy products, such as milk and yoghurt, contain vitamin D. The sun can also provide vitamin D.

Brush with fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride is essential in order to prevent cavity and remineralize enamel. Extensive research has shown that brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste on a daily basis helps to prevent cavities.

Cut out sugary foods

Avoid consuming excess sugar, since this is the cavity solution that no one wants to hear. Sugar consumption is the single major risk factor for cavities, according to the World Health Organization. Sugar consumption should be kept to less than 10% of total calorie intake each day, according to the experts.

If you’re going to consume sugar, don’t do it frequently throughout the day. Your enamel gets a chance to remineralize once the sugar is gone. However, if you consume sugar on a regular basis, your teeth will not have the opportunity to remineralize.

Oil pulling

Ayurveda, an ancient school of alternative treatment, is where oil pulling originated. It requires swishing a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for a specific amount of time before spitting it out.

While certain claims regarding oil pulling are unsupported by science, studies show that it can benefit dental health. According to a research, utilising sesame oil in the pulling method decreased plaque and germs in the mouth to the same level as mouthwash.

If oil pulling helps to remove plaque, it may aid in the remineralization of enamel and the prevention of cavities.

Licorice root

According to  one research, extracts from the Chinese licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) can fight the germs that cause tooth cavities.

One researcher has gone one step further and designed a licorice lollipop to aid in the prevention of tooth decay.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Can you stop a cavity before it gets worse?

Once a cavity has formed, it will keep on growing unless removed by a dentist. You can slow down the growth of a cavity by following a few tips such as staying hydrated, using fluoridated toothpaste, chewing Xylitol Gum, rinsing with salt water etc.

Can you stop a cavity once it starts?

No, you cannot stop a cavity once it starts. It can only be treated by a dentist.

Can cavities heal naturally?

No, cavities cannot heal naturally. It has to be filled by a dentist.

Can you brush a cavity away?

No, you cannot brush away a cavity. Brushing regularly can only prevent cavities but once it has developed it won’t go away unless treated properly. 

How bad can a cavity get?

A cavity can entirely ruin your tooth, leaving you with no other choice except to extract it. 

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

Can you have multiple cavities in one tooth?

Can you have holes in your teeth that aren’t cavities?

Can you give someone cavities by kissing?

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