In the early stages of tooth decay, it may be possible to heal small cavities naturally without a filling. It all begins with your diet. Knowing which foods you should eat and which foods you should avoid can help you avoid the dental drill and reverse the enamel decalcification at home.
Fillings are often the first line of defense against tooth decay. There are certainly cavities that require fillings, and you should always seek out your dentist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing oral pain. However, smaller cavities can be reversed with a proper diet. As a bonus, that same diet that heals existing cavities also helps to prevent new ones from forming.
Knowing How Cavities Form
Certain strains of naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth thrive when you consume foods and drinks that contain sugar. When sugars are not cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce harmful acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque. Once the sticky plaque film covers the teeth, the acids wear away your enamel, creating tiny holes. These tiny openings in the enamel are the first stage of decay.
Foods That Help To Reverse Cavities
The foods you eat on a daily basis have a direct impact on your oral microbiome and saliva. When you eat the wrong foods, you create an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria known to cause tooth decay. The quality of the foods you eat and their nutritional value also determine whether you are getting necessary nutrients to support the teeth’s natural remineralization process.
Your teeth experience a lot of wear and tear, and their ability to continually regenerate allows you to keep the same set of teeth for the majority of your life if cared for properly. Consuming specific vitamins and minerals from your diet or supplementation allows your teeth the ability to heal themselves in minor ways.
Calcium has long been known to benefit dental health. Not only does it provide the building blocks that teeth need on a regular basis, but calcium also helps you produce more saliva. The saliva in your mouth naturally restores the minerals to your teeth that you may have lost from eating.
There are many ways to get the recommended amount of calcium into your diet, and not just from obvious sources such as milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Other foods that are a great source of calcium include:
- Raw, grass-fed milk
Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D actually functions more like a hormone than a traditional vitamin. It controls the body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus, meaning vitamin D is necessary for your body to be able to absorb certain nutrients. Spending time in the sun is the easiest way to boost vitamin D levels, but vitamin D can also be found in certain foods such as:
- Egg yolks
Much like vitamin D, vitamin K2 regulates the absorption of minerals in the body. In fact, these two fat-soluble vitamins work in tandem to ensure that teeth have the calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium needed for remineralization.
Vitamin K2 can be found in:
- Fermented cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
- Chicken liver
- Ground beef
- Organic grass-fed dairy products
Controlling the balance of other nutrients in the body, magnesium is responsible for numerous processes in the body. Include these rich sources of magnesium into your diet:
- Leafy greens
- Blackstrap molasses
- Squash seeds
Consuming adequate levels of phosphorus have been shown to protect against tooth decay; however, finding sources of phosphorus that actually benefit dental health can be tricky. Phosphorus is most commonly present in:
- Grass-fed meats
Knowing When To See Your Dentist
When a cavity is just beginning to form, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms including tooth pain, sensitivity and discomfort while chewing. It’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine so cavities do not go undetected. Contact Premier Dental Center to schedule your next cavity-preventing treatment today.