Cavities are maybe the worst possible prognosis when you visit the dentist. They’re inconvenient, sometimes painful, and they mean another visit to the dentist’s office. Your dentist will tell you to be sure to brush and floss regularly to avoid them (which is good advice). For some people, though, regular brushing and flossing just don’t cut it. If you’re among that number (or just want a more natural method), here are some ways for how to get rid of cavities at home.
What Is a Cavity?
The simple answer is that a cavity is a small hole in your tooth. Cavities are caused by bacteria – and cavity-causing bacteria are found in everyone’s mouths. In order to avoid cavities, the goal is to eliminate the bacteria or the things that help bacteria to grow (like sugars and phytic acids).
Cavities are the short-term result of tooth decay (which would eventually result in rotting teeth). The first phase is a pre-cavity when acids from bacteria begin to break down the tooth’s outer layer, called enamel. The decay becomes a full-blown cavity when it spreads to the dentin – or the tooth’s middle layer – when your dentist will usually choose to treat it.
Unfortunately, once decay reaches the dentin it’s no longer reversible naturally. The good news is that there are ways for how to get rid of cavities in the stage of decayed enamel. More good news: most dentists aren’t “drill happy” because having to clear out and fill a cavity permanently changes your tooth. So know that if they say you need a filling, you really do need it.
Of course, the best way to deal with cavities is to try not to get them in the first place. As mentioned above, there really is something to be said for following your dentist’s instructions! Brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste, floss the hard to reach areas, and rinse with a mouthwash if you want to be extra safe. On top of that, here are some other things you can do to help decrease the likelihood of developing new cavities.
- Limit sugar and phytic acids. Phytic acids are found mostly in grains, and they’re known for blocking minerals (which you need to eliminate pre-cavities). Any sticky foods are also a no-go; you don’t want acidic things to hang out on your teeth any longer than they have to.
- Lack of saliva. If you struggle with dry mouth or another medical condition that limits the amount of saliva you produce naturally, you could be at higher risk for cavities. Talk to a health professional or try an at-home remedy to increase the production of saliva.
- Missing minerals. Cavities develop because your tooth becomes de-mineralized. Be sure that you’re consuming plenty of phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium.
There are plenty of other home remedies that you can try to stop cavities from starting. In general, the healthier you eat, the healthier your teeth will be!
How to Get Rid of Cavities
Remember, we’re talking about pre-cavities here. If you nip them in the bud, you won’t have to worry about getting your cavity filled later! First off, how do you identify a pre-cavity? The easiest way is from an x-ray. The scan that your dentist takes at your bi-annual check-up could show shadows on your teeth. These shadows are pre-cavities.
If you haven’t been to the dentist recently, look for small black spots on your teeth. Those are likely a symptom of the same thing. If you’ve identified any pre-cavities, check out the home remedies below! If not, you can try one or more of these anyways as a preventative measure.
1. Oil Pulling
This is an ancient practice to pull infections out of the teeth. It’s a little time consuming but only needs to be done once a day. Most people recommend adding this to your morning routine! Take a mouthful of coconut or sesame oil and swish it around for 20 minutes. This will eliminate plaque buildup and supposedly removes toxins from your mouth (though there aren’t studies to back that part up). One woman who added this process to her morning routine saw the black spots on her teeth disappear in a month!
2. Sugar-Free Gum
Not only does gum stimulate the flow of saliva, but most sugar-free gums contain xylitol. Xylitol raises the pH of plaque (making it less acidic) and reduces S. mutans in the mouth. S. mutans (Streptococcus mutans) is a form of bacteria that has been found to have a heavy contribution to tooth decay. If you want a really intense benefit, go for Recaldent Calcium gum (which contains a calcium-phosphate compound that has an extra strong effect).
3. Licorice Root
Don’t go eating licorice candy to get this benefit; that will have the opposite effect! But dry licorice powder has anti-bacterial agents that can help to fight off or reverse the process of decay. Just use licorice powder when brushing your teeth so that it gets massaged nicely into your teeth (particularly in the areas where you know there are pre-cavities).
You might have heard that garlic is a superfood, so it shouldn’t surprise you that garlic is also great for fighting cavities. This one can be applied directly to the infected area of the tooth. Just crush a garlic clove, add a bit of salt, and put it on the cavity for a few minutes.
There are a number of ways to get this benefit. First off, brew up some wheatgrass tea and drink one glass a day. Second, invest in wheatgrass oil. Soak a piece of cotton or cotton ball in the oil and rub it on the infected tooth. Finally, you can chew raw wheatgrass until the oil starts coming out to soak the tooth.
6. Make a Natural Toothpaste
If you want to make sure that you’re getting the best toothpaste for re-mineralizing your teeth, why not make your own? Combine all of these ingredients and use just like your normal toothpaste!
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp baking soda (aluminum free!)
- 3 tsp glycerin
- 20 drops peppermint oil or clove essential oil
- 20 drops trace mineral (calcium/magnesium powder)
Again, keep in mind that these methods will get rid of pre-cavities, but they can’t totally cure your full blow cavity. They will, however, keep the cavity from spreading! So if you know that you have a cavity but can’t get in for a filling, start using one of these remedies to make sure you don’t end up with a more serious infection!
The best way to avoid getting cavities, and to know when you’re starting to get one, is to regularly visit the dentist! I know it’s not anyone’s favorite thing, but taking an hour or two out of the day to get in for your bi-annual checkup can save you from a whole host of issues! Even if you don’t have any cavities, the dentist will give you a fluoride treatment that will keep new ones from developing!
Do you know any other ways to get rid of cavities? Have you tried one of these suggestions with great results? Let us know in the comments!