Brushing and flossing ensures good oral health. Cavities are formed when the bacterial infection erodes the surface of the tooth. Plaque is a sticky film that builds up over a period of time and can only be removed through professional cleaning. If not removed, plaque erodes the minerals on the surface of the teeth resulting in smaller pits that grow into larger ones called “Cavities”. An imbalance in the ratio of calcium and phosphorous in the blood also causes tooth decay and gum diseases.
Who are at Risk?
People who eat raw foods, sticky foods such as sweets, dried fruits, cakes and cookies are prone to bacterial infection and cavities. People who keep munching throughout the day or drink acidic beverages or people with eating disorders, heartburn or dry mouth are at a higher risk of having cavities.
How to prevent Cavities?
Apart from the regular brushing and flossing a few careful steps will help prevent cavities. These are:
- Sugar: Refined sugar is the main cause of cavities and it is best to avoid it.
- Tea: Green/Black tea helps reduce the build-up of plaque and is thus helpful in preventing cavities.
- Tooth Healthy Food: A fibre rich diet comprising apple, nuts and cheese help in breaking the plaque and increase saliva production in the mouth. We should include Vitamins A, D, E and K along with calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in our diet. Licorice twists has antibacterial properties that are good for the teeth.
- Chewing Sugar-free gum: It helps in the production of saliva and also cleanses any food debris from the mouth.
- Xylitol: It is a natural sweetener that helps in checking bacterial growth. Xylitol can be added to food items/toothpaste/chewing gum.
- Sip with a Straw: Carbonated drinks have acidic properties that erode the tooth surface. Drinking them with a straw reduces their contact with the tooth surface.
- Oil Pulling: The age old method of swishing mouth with oil (sesame or sunflower oil) holds good even today. It is one of the best methods of flushing out all the toxins from the mouth. Rinsing mouth with tea tree oil diluted in water also helps in reducing bacterial growth.
- Water: Drinking water helps clean the mouth of the bacteria and also helps in the production of saliva.
Remedies for Cavities
A Dentist will fill the cavity or suggest a Root Canal Treatment or prescribe tooth extraction depending on how bad the cavity is. According to Dev’s Oral Care, pioneers in providing dental treatment in Pune, there are some natural remedies for treating cavities. These are:
- Oil of Oregano: Oil of Oregano has antimicrobial properties. Brushing with this oil daily helps fight tooth decay.
- Xylitol: Xylitol checks bacterial growth and prevents germs from sticking on to the gums and teeth. Using Xylitol toothpaste, rinse and spray several times a day stops bacterial growth
- Clove: Clove or clove oil can be used on the affected tooth to treat toothache.
- Sage: A mouthwash made by boiling sage in water and using it after cooling can be used to cure tooth decay.
- Neem: Neem sticks, leaves and seeds have antibacterial properties that help in fighting tooth decay.