Getting a cavity filled is a routine dental procedure that most people experience at least once in their life, if not more often. While getting a filling is a relatively simple process, many people wonder “can cavities heal on their own?” The answer is more complex than you think, but you’ll be happy to know that you can prevent some tooth decay if caught early enough, thanks to good dental hygiene. So let’s take a closer look at dental caries (cavities) and how you can prevent them.
How Does a Cavity Start?
Before we talk about cavities, let’s talk about tooth structure for a moment. The exterior of your teeth is called enamel. This enamel protects your teeth and gives them their structure. However, enamel can be broken down by plaque, a film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. One of the main reasons for brushing your teeth is to remove this film of bacteria and to prevent leftover food from staying behind.
Plaque feeds on sugary foods and, in turn, produces acids. These acids eat away your enamel, breaking it down until a cavity forms. Once a cavity starts, it can continue to deepen if left untreated and cause a deep hole that allows bacteria to access the pulp of your teeth, leading to infection and pain.
Do Cavities Heal Themselves?
The answer to this question is yes, and no: here’s why. A fully developed cavity is beyond natural repair and needs dental intervention. These holes trap food and bacteria, leading to more profound cavity growth. However, in the early stages of cavity growth, you can strengthen your enamel and reverse the cavity process. You can stop cavities in their tracks by ensuring your teeth have good minerals and removing plaque early on. This includes brushing, flossing, and consuming fluoride in the form of fluoridated toothpaste or fluoride dental treatments. While these are all essential parts of dental hygiene, they are critical if you are prone to cavities or consume a lot of sugary or acidic foods, as these can break down the enamel of your teeth faster.
How Can I Prevent Cavities?
Good dental hygiene is one of the best, most effective ways to prevent cavities. Taking care of your teeth by removing plaque before it builds up and having your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental professional can make a massive difference in the number of cavities in your mouth. Avoiding sugary or acidic foods, or at least making sure you brush your teeth after eating said foods, can also help prevent cavities. Sugary beverages are a primary risk factor for cavities, so try and limit your consumption of these and other acidic beverages. An excellent way to prevent cavities is to maintain your dental hygiene and regularly visit your dental office. Thanks to diligent dental care, you can heal early-stage cavities through intervention and prevent them from forming.
If you want to learn more about cavities or have any other dental questions, call our office at (972) 432-8811. Here at Coolbreeze Dentistry, we offer personalized, honest dental care to the Irving, TX, area. Request an appointment at our office today.