Tooth decay occurs when plaque bacteria begin to eat away at the tooth’s outer layer, known as enamel. Depending on the stage or progression rate, you may be able to reverse or cure tooth decay early on at home.
When enamel is stripped away, it’s lost for good. Fortunately, you can restore your enamel before it’s gone through a process called remineralization which takes approximately three to four months to take effect:
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste: You can begin to cure tooth decay while it’s still in its early stages with a toothpaste formulated to remineralize enamel. Crest’s Gum & Enamel Repair Advanced Whitening can help repair enamel, neutralize bacteria, and polish off surface stains.
- Sugar-free gum: Chew on gum devoid of any sugars to stimulate saliva production to better wash away plaque bacteria. Sugars contribute to bacterial production, so be sure you’re chewing on a sugar-free option.
- Rinse with fluoride: To fortify remineralizing properties while keeping bacteria in check, try rinsing with an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash packed with antibacterial agents.
Remineralization at home can only occur when decay is in its pre-cavity stage. If decay has progressed into a cavity, the only cure is to remove the decayed material at your dentist’s office. Depending on the level of decay, your dentist may recommend one of the following in-office treatments: filling, crown, root canal, or tooth extraction when the tooth cannot be restored.
Avoiding cavities all together is the best way to prevent tooth decay from progressing. Following a proper oral care routine is crucial and consists of:
- Brushing twice a day
- Brushing for the dentist-recommended two minutes
- Flossing at least once a day
- Keeping up with regular dentist or dental hygienist appointments
Additionally, you can help prevent decay from taking root by avoiding foods high in sugar or starch, eating plenty of greens, limiting alcohol intake, and staying hydrated. When combined with a thorough oral hygiene regimen, your smile can stay resilient and healthy.
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