Fillings, root canals, crowns – these words are all too familiar for many people. Most have at least one of them in their mouth. Tooth decay is the major reason for regular dental care, and many just accept at some time in their life, they’ll need a filling or two. What most don’t realize is there are easy ways to reverse tooth decay in its early stages, preventing the need for dental treatment. In an interview with Dr. Will Taylor, he gives helpful information on reversing tooth decay to enjoy stronger, healthier teeth.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Everyone has bacteria living in their mouth. Dr. Taylor says tooth decay occurs when the bacteria interacts with sugar.
“Every time you’re eating sugary products, the bacteria are eating the sugar, and they’re producing acid. That acid eats away at your teeth. And as the acid eats away your teeth, the bacteria get deeper into your teeth. The decay is bacteria eating away at your teeth.”
As a result of tooth decay, you get a cavity. Cavities are infections in your tooth, and they must be cleaned out. Dr. Taylor says the interior of the tooth is often “mushy and soft” from the tooth decay. Sugary products like sports drinks and sodas are often causes of tooth decay, as well as sugary desserts and any acidic foods.
Can You Reverse Tooth Decay?
According to Dr. Taylor, tooth decay is reversible, depending on how big the cavity is and how much it’s progressed through the enamel. You can reverse incipient lesions. This is a cavity in the very early stages. Dr. Taylor explains it this way:
“Basically the enamel, the outer shell of the tooth, is demineralized. So it’s kind of…chalky. If you catch that really early and get some fluoride in there, you can remineralize that area and stop the decay.”
Other forms of tooth decay require fillings and really deep ones require root canals and a crown. The worst forms of tooth decay may require extraction. Root canals are necessary, Dr. Taylor says, when bacteria reach the tooth’s nerve. At that point, he says, decay has moved from the outer surface of the tooth to the middle and is compromising the nerve.
How Can You Prevent Tooth Decay?
The steps for preventing or reversing early tooth decay are simple. Dr. Taylor says, “fluoride really is a key component to stopping those early cavities from going further.” As bacteria removes calcium from teeth, creating a porous surface, fluoride takes the place of calcium and repopulates the tooth. Dr. Taylor says fluoride refills the area and is a lot stronger than calcium, too. He recommends using fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse.
Flossing is another easy way to prevent cavities. Flossing is just as important for children, too. Dr. Taylor says if baby teeth have no space between them so they’re touching, cavities can grow there. Flossing is a good practice no matter what age you are.
See if you can be reversing tooth decay!
Make an appointment to see Dr. Taylor or Dr. Martin today!