A cavity is one of the most common causes behind why your teeth hurt. If it’s your first time getting a cavity, you may have a lot of questions. Will it get better? Do you have to have the tooth removed? Is there a way to prevent a cavity from getting worse?
A cavity is a tiny hole caused by decay and grows over time. This decay is usually something like the protective enamel wearing down over time from various acids that come through food and drinks. A cavity becomes painful when it grows to the point where a blood vessel or nerve is exposed.
Although no cavity will go away on its own, there are ways to prevent cavities from getting worse:
Go to a Dentist
You should see a dentist when you have a cavity. It’s the only way to get rid of it permanently. They can fill the cavity hole and resolve the pain in a matter of minutes. If you avoid going to the dentist altogether, the cavity will continue to grow. Eventually, it will move into the pulp chamber of your tooth.
At that time, you will need a root canal. Don’t wait to feel pain. Don’t delay it longer than you need to. If a cavity festers over time (and it may be years before it’s a problem), it can lead to severe consequences for your oral health.
Brush and Remove Food Particles
Brush twice a day. That’s the first step. This keeps teeth and gums healthy. If there’s a cavity, target this area a little more than you usually would. Ensure there aren’t any food particles there. Don’t go too rough on the area either. You don’t want to irritate it, which so many patients do by pressing down too hard with their toothbrush.
Stay Hydrated and Drink Water
Avoid acidic drinks like sodas and citrus juices. Stick with water. This cuts down on the acid a cavity comes in contact with. Also, stay hydrated. A dry mouth allows bacteria to accumulate and cavities will worsen. Drink lots of water and keep your mouth moist. This evidently has other advantages to your overall health as well.
Limit Refined Sugars
It’s not just acidity drinks that are the problem, either. The acids in sugar are a major issue as well. Try to avoid sugary foods and beverages as best as you can. If you do indulge, rinse your mouth out afterward with water. Some dentists would even go so far as to recommend brushing your teeth and flossing immediately after. All in all, refined sugars are much easier to avoid altogether.
Apply a High-Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride prevents bacteria from multiplying and doing a real number on our teeth. If you are prone to cavities or feel a cavity starting to form, stick with a regular fluoride treatment. This can slow tooth decay and keep enamel strong in a big way. It is one of the most effective treatments a dentist can recommend for overall oral health.
Add Mouthwash to Your Oral Care Routine
You may want to get into the habit of using mouthwash. Alternative natural therapies that work similarly are a tablespoon of sesame oil or coconut oil swishing around the mouth. Whether it’s mouthwash or oil, research indicates this can reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria on teeth. It may help to prevent cavities.
Look at Phytic Acid Intake
Phytic acid is found in maize, wheat, rice, rye, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, and blackeye beans among other things. Multiple studies have shown a diet high in phytic acid correlates to more cavities and increased incidences of tooth decay. Phytic acid also affects the mineral absorption of food. Although more research is needed on phytic acid’s relationship to cavities, it may explain why cavities are occurring and provide a first step in understanding how to prevent them.
Rinse with Saltwater
Saltwater is normally the sort of thing that works in treating infections and wounds. It works with cavities as well. Saltwater is an antiseptic and destroys the type of bacteria that is known to contribute to cavity growth. Swishing salt water in your mouth regularly will take care of any harmful bacteria looking to do damage.
Chew Xylitol Gum
Xylitol is an alcohol that naturally destroys bacteria and fights infections. Xylitol in chewing gum taken after every meal will help prevent cavities from forming. Unfortunately, xylitol won’t help reverse any decay that’s already formed. It may help slow down the progression, but a dentist is the only person who can help repair a cavity in a long-lasting way.