Most people really hate going to the dentist. The sound of the drills sends chills down your spine, and the thought of sitting in that chair makes you shudder. However, going to the dentist is one of those things you can’t avoid, right? And if you do, everyone will know (see: halitosis, rotting teeth, etc.). So if you have an irrational fear of the dentist, you just have to grin and bear it.
Or do you? Maybe you can’t avoid the dentist altogether, but there are things you can do to minimise the dental treatments you'll need when you do visit. There are new studies coming out that suggest that there are natural ways to maintain good oral hygiene and protect your teeth.
Some of these studies have said that even things as simple as changes to your diet may be able to heal cavities and reverse tooth decay. Is this too good to be true, or can you avoid the dentist using some natural remedies at home?
Let’s dig in and find out.
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Can Cavities Be Healed Naturally?
If you get a cavity, is it possible that it will heal on its own? While there’s no magic pill you can take that will regrow your teeth and make them glow white like runway lights, there is scientifically backed research out there that shows it’s possible to remineralise teeth and fight cavities naturally.
How is this possible?
The first thing you need to do is follow the advice you've heard your whole life; stop eating so much sugar. Sugar not only feeds oral bacteria, but it literally decalcifies and demineralises your teeth.
That means the first thing you have to do if you want any chance of healing your cavities is to stay away from your favourite soft drinks, sweets and cakes, especially if you're in the habit of consuming them between meals. Once you eliminate sugary, acidic soft drinks from your diet, the best drinks for your teeth are water, low sugar vegetable juices, and milk.
You might also have heard warnings about phytic acid, which is present in most grains, nuts and beans. Cutting down on these foods can help remineralize your teeth. However, it won't heal deep cavities, as some research first suggested.
After removing the negative foods, you need to add in some nutrient-rich foods and raw dairy. Raw dairy is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help maintain strong teeth and promote oral wellness.
Also, make a point to eat plenty of foods loaded with vitamins and minerals, and avoid fast food and overly processed foods like the plague. The vitamins you want to be sure you get enough of are vitamins A, D, E and K.
You can also use a toothpaste which is enhanced with certain minerals. These can be expensive to buy, but there are ways to make your own (more on this later).
Oil pulling is another helpful method for reversing cavities. Simply swish oil in your mouth for 20 minutes every morning during your normal morning routine. Yes, 20 minutes is a long time, so if you can’t make it the full twenty, start smaller and build up. Most people recommend using coconut oil or MCT oil for oil pulling.
Watch this video for a bit more on oil pulling, or read our full guide here.
This will not only benefit your teeth, but it has also been proven to treat things like headaches and diabetes. Once you’re done, spit your oil in the trash instead of in your sink so you don’t clog your drains. Then rinse your mouth out with salt water for an extra kick of antimicrobial properties. Finally, brush your teeth and floss following these guidelines.
Is it possible to reverse tooth decay?
We've already described some ways to promote remineralisation of tooth enamel. Making sure you have enough minerals in your diet, getting enough fat-soluble vitamins, and using mineral toothpaste and oil pulling can all help fight tooth decay in the very early stages. They also help protect teeth from decay in the future.
Scientists are also working on ways to heal cavities without having to drill teeth – but again these methods will only work in the early stages of tooth decay.
If you already have a deep cavity that has reached the dental pulp inside the tooth, you should visit a dentist. This kind of decay is beyond the point of being reversed by natural means, and if not treated it will spread and require more drastic treatment.
Is It Possible To Naturally Strengthen Tooth Enamel?
The enamel on your teeth is the hardest and most mineralised substance in your body. Following the remedies above will also help you strengthen tooth enamel naturally.
Some ways to recognise that you’re losing your tooth enamel are if your teeth are highly sensitive or turning yellow, the tips of your teeth look transparent, or your teeth have rounded edges. Rounded edges are also an early sign of tooth erosion, something else you want to take seriously if you notice it.
Can You Whiten Teeth Naturally?
Now that your teeth are healthy, you want them to look good. Having a mouth free from decay and cavities still isn’t good enough if you’re walking around with a yellow smile. But there’s good news: there are several natural ways to whiten your teeth as well.
Oil pulling will work to whiten your teeth, and baking soda has natural whitening properties, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in many toothpastes already. You aren’t going to notice anything overnight, but if you brush with baking soda consistently you will notice a change over time.
Hydrogen peroxide, the same product used in many home whitening kits, is another household remedy you can use to whiten your teeth. However, you do need to be cautious using hydrogen peroxide because there are questions about its safety. Make sure you’re using a 1.5% or 3% solution. It's usually sold as a 3% solution, and you can dilute that to a 1.5% solution if you desire.
You can use it as a mouthwash before you brush your teeth, or you can add it to baking soda to create a natural toothpaste. Simply combine 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and brush away.
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a cleaning product for centuries and it can also be used to whiten your teeth. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that can help whiten your teeth as well as your countertops. However, overuse of vinegar can also erode the enamel on your teeth, so limit its use to once or twice per week.
A Few DIY Projects For Your Teeth
As mentioned earlier, you can make your own mineralised toothpaste if you don’t want to purchase it. Using this toothpaste will go a long way in helping you get strong and healthy pearly whites. A good recipe for a DIY remineralising toothpaste with coconut oil can be found here.
There’s also a simple recipe for a homemade toothpaste without coconut oil that only contains baking soda, sea salt, and peppermint extract. It’s extremely easy to put together and it’s cost efficient as well. The full recipe can be found here.
Bentonite clay is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals. This recipe includes bentonite clay to help get your teeth as clean and as healthy as possible. The recipe is also without baking soda in case you prefer a toothpaste that is baking soda free.
Homemade toothpaste with charcoal has become increasingly popular in recent years. Activated charcoal binds to dirt and stains beyond the surface and draws them out, leaving your teeth extremely clean. People that use activated charcoal in their homemade toothpaste will swear by it and claim that their mouth has never felt cleaner after using it. If you’d like to try a charcoal-based toothpaste, you'll find more information and recipes here.
Homemade tooth powder is another option if you’d like to make your own home remedies. Tooth powder functions the same as toothpaste, except that you just dip your toothbrush into the powder instead of using a paste. A good reason to use the powder instead of a toothpaste is because it leaves less of a mess in your sink, and it works better with the bentonite clay. This is a good recipe for a tooth powder.
If you want to know more about what goes into commercial toothpastes and which ingredients you might want to avoid, check out our full article on natural toothpaste. We also have articles about bamboo toothbrushes and plastic-free floss for anyone wanting to reduce their waste.
Follow these steps and you might notice you don't have as many problems next time you visit the dentist. If you’re diligent with your oral hygiene and diet, it is possible to naturally reverse early tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Change your diet, change your habits, and change your teeth.