Did you know that teeth are actually multi-layered tissues that harden and are buried under the gums? If the condition of the enamel (the first layer of the tooth) and the dentin (the second layer of the tooth) is damaged due to decay caused by the growth of bacteria between the teeth and the surface of the tooth, then cavities will begin to form. If the disorder occurs, most dentists will advise the sufferer to have fillings as the only effective medical approach. However, some non-scientific evidence suggests that cavities can also be treated naturally, such as by making dietary changes. Most importantly, make sure you also always maintain oral hygiene to prevent cavities!
Method 1 of 3: Treating Cavities Naturally
Step 1. Increase your vitamin D intake
For a long time, vitamin D has been known as a nutrient that is important for maintaining healthy bones, encouraging calcium metabolism, and helping the body to produce cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide that can kill bacteria that cause cavities.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is quite difficult to obtain through food, although you can find it in a variety of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. To maximize your intake, try to sunbathe without wearing sunscreen for 15-30 minutes in each session. When the weather is cloudy, try taking a D supplement for benefits similar to sunbathing
Step 2. Increase consumption of foods containing vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is a component that naturally affects the formation of bones in the face, including teeth. Because the content of vitamin K is quite rare in the diet of modern society, try to meet its needs to treat cavities in your teeth. In particular, vitamin K2 often found in fermented foods and animal products such as:
- Animal offal (especially crabs and lobsters)
- Skate fish liver oil
- Bone marrow
Step 3. Try consuming fermented cod liver oil for a high intake of fatty vitamins
Several studies have shown that one of the causes of cavities is the lack of intake of fatty vitamins (vitamins A, D, and K) in the diet of modern society. The fact that cod liver oil is fermented, rather than distilled, indicates that it is rich in vitamins D and A, both of which are essential for restoring mineral levels to your teeth.
- If you have difficulty or don't want to consume fermented cod liver oil, try consuming more chicken liver, goat cheese, or high-fat milk to meet the body's vitamin A needs. Remember, 60 grams of chicken liver, 500 grams of goat cheese, and 8 liters of milk are actually equivalent to 1 tsp. cod liver oil fermentation.
- If you want, you can also increase the intake of vitamin D in the body by consuming large portions of salmon, eggs, and high-fat milk. Specifically, to get the benefits equivalent to 1 tsp. fermented cod liver oil, you should consume 500 grams of salmon, 5 dozen eggs and 80 liters of high-fat milk!
Step 4. Eat foods high in calcium
Since calcium can help strengthen your teeth, try increasing your intake. The easiest way to do this is to eat more dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. In addition, calcium can also help teeth to rebuild lost minerals.
If possible, try eating cheese. Cheese can stimulate the production of saliva so that it can restore mineral levels in the teeth, as well as clean up adhering food residue
Step 5. Use a toothpaste that contains minerals
You can buy toothpaste that is free of fluoride to help rebuild the minerals in your teeth and make them stronger. Remember, such toothpaste will generally cost more than the regular toothpaste that you use frequently.
If you wish, you can also make your own mineralized toothpaste by mixing 4 tbsp. coconut oil, 2 tbsp. (30 grams) baking soda, 1 tbsp. (15 grams) xylitol (or a pinch of stevia), 20 drops of peppermint oil, and 20 drops of calcium or magnesium powder
Step 6. Monitor the recovery process
If you have cavities, the bacteria and acids that build up will stain the surface. In fact, the color of stains on teeth can indicate the level of damage; for example, a darker color indicates a larger, deeper hole. If you are trying to treat cavities, try to take the time to observe whether or not the discoloration of the teeth is present.
- Also pay attention to the sensation of pain that appears. If the pain is persistent, stabbing, or is sensitive to hot and cold food, chances are your cavities are getting serious and you should see a doctor immediately (especially if the pain is increasing).
- Be aware of the possibility of food impaction. In fact, food can easily become trapped in cavities in cracked teeth. As a result, your teeth will feel more sensitive and uncomfortable, and take longer to heal.
- Watch out for cracks in your teeth. Although very dependent on the size of the cavity, cavities may be weaker than healthier teeth. If you don't want to treat cavities at the doctor, at least be aware of this possibility.
Method 2 of 3: Prevent Cavities Naturally
Step 1. Brush your teeth regularly
Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and increase the frequency after eating or drinking food and drinks other than water for 30 minutes. When brushing your teeth, make sure the bristles are at 45° from the gums, and are moved back and forth against the tooth surface. Make sure you brush the inside, front, and bottom of your teeth as well.
- Do not forget to rub your tongue, because bacteria and food debris will generally also accumulate there.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Remember, teeth can also be damaged by rubbing with a brush that is too hard. Also, make sure you change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
- There is no need to rinse out the toothpaste left in the mouth. Just remove the foam, but there's no need to rinse the inside of your mouth with water so that the minerals in the toothpaste have a chance to be absorbed into your teeth.
- If your teeth are very sensitive, use a toothpaste that is specifically intended for those with sensitive teeth. In many cases, inflammation of the gums can also be reduced because of it.
Step 2. Floss every day
Prepare a 50 cm long dental floss, then tie the two ends on the middle fingers of both your hands. Press the floss with the thumbs and forefingers of both hands to give it more stretch, then move the floss back and forth between and under each tooth. Once the floss is between your teeth, gently move it up and down a few times to clean it. Then loosen more floss and move between the other teeth.
If you don't know the correct technique for cleaning your teeth, try watching this video created by the United States Dental Association
Step 3. Use fluoride
It contains fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash and replaces the calcium component in hydroxyapatite with fluorapatite, a substance that is resistant to acid demineralization. As a result, the use of fluoride has been shown to prevent the formation of cavities in teeth. The fluoride content in toothpaste can help strengthen enamel, while preventing the formation of cavities because the antimicrobial content is able to kill bacteria that cause cavities.
- While some have voiced concerns about the use of fluoride, research conducted by the United States National Research Agency in 2007 found that fluoride is an essential mineral for maintaining healthy teeth and the bone structure that supports them.
- If you want, you can also use a toothpaste that is specifically designed to strengthen enamel, such as the various brands of fluoride toothpaste that are sold in the market.
Step 4. Reduce the habit of eating snacks and consuming drinks other than water
Snacking on snacks or drinking drinks other than water on a regular basis can actually have a harmful impact on your teeth. In fact, every time you eat or drink a drink other than water, the bacteria in your mouth will create an acidic environment and can damage the enamel on your teeth.
If you have to snack on snacks, choose healthier options like cheese, yogurt, or fruit slices. Avoid snacks that are not friendly to your teeth, such as sweets or chips
Step 5. Limit your intake of carbohydrates and sugar
Remember, cavities-causing bacteria need food, namely carbohydrates and sugar, to survive. In particular, they turn the food into acid, which weakens the strength of the teeth. That's why, you have to limit the intake of carbohydrates and sugar to eradicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth! In other words, avoid all processed and packaged foods, such as cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, etc.
- Also avoid soda and other drinks that contain added artificial sweeteners. In addition, soda is also very acidic and can damage tooth enamel!
- If you still want to eat foods that taste sweet, try eating honey which contains antibacterial substances. In addition, you can also consume stevia, which is an herb that tastes 200 times higher than regular sugar.
- If you really want to eat whole grains, try choosing whole grains that have been through the fermentation process, such as sourdough bread, in reasonable portions.
- If you already consume carbohydrates and sugar, brush your teeth immediately to clean the food residue that is attached to the teeth and can accelerate the occurrence of decay.
Step 6. Consume certain fresh fruits
Most of the fresh fruit contains sugar which is not friendly to the bacteria in the mouth. Therefore, do not hesitate to eat more apples, pears, peaches, or other fruits in reasonable portions. In addition, fresh fruits, as well as vegetables, can also increase the production of saliva which is able to clean food debris between and on the surface of the teeth.
Limit consumption of citrus fruits! Over time, its very high acid content can damage your tooth enamel. Therefore, always eat citrus fruits as part of a heavy meal (not as a snack), and make sure you always rinse your mouth with water afterward
Step 7. Chew food well and properly
Understand that chewing movements can trigger the production of saliva which naturally contains antibacterial substances and is useful for cleaning food debris between and on the surface of the teeth. Saliva also contains calcium and phosphate which are effective in neutralizing acid levels in food and destroying some of the bacteria in it.
Acidic foods have a higher tendency to trigger saliva production. However, due to its higher acid content, make sure to chew as much food as possible to increase the amount of saliva produced
Step 8. Consider limiting your intake of phytic acid
Some experts recommend that you reduce your intake of foods that contain phytic acid (such as nuts and legumes), especially because phytic acid can prevent the absorption of the mineral in the body. Although phytic acid also contains minerals, most of these are lost when beans and legumes are soaked before cooking, when cooked, and when they enter the acidic stomach cavity.
Step 9. Take mineral supplements
Like to take multivitamins? Make sure the product you choose contains minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. Remember, both (especially calcium) is the main mineral content in the teeth so it must be consumed to strengthen the condition of the teeth. In general a mineral supplement should contain:
- At least, consume 1,000 mg of calcium every day. Specifically, men over the age of 71 and women over the age of 51 should consume about 1,200 mg per day!
- Make sure the body also receives an intake of 300-400 mg of magnesium every day. Meanwhile, children from newborn to 3 years of age should receive an intake of 40-80 mg of magnesium per day; children aged 3-6 years should receive an intake of 120 mg of magnesium per day; and children up to 10 years of age need 170 mg of magnesium daily. Make sure you only give vitamins that are intended for children to them, yes!
Step 10. Get adequate intake of vitamin D
Vitamin D can control the balance of calcium and phosphate in your bones and teeth, and some foods that have been shown to be rich in this vitamin include healthy fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna), soy milk, coconut milk, cow's milk, eggs, and yogurt. Another way to get vitamin D intake is by sunbathing in the morning or taking supplements that can be purchased at various pharmacies and health stores near you.
Adults and children should receive at least 600 UI (International Units) of vitamin D daily. Meanwhile, adults over the age of 70 should receive 800 UI of vitamin D per day
Step 11. Drink plenty of water
Water, especially those containing fluoride, is claimed to be one of the best drinks for maintaining healthy teeth. In general, it is recommended that you drink about 8 glasses of water per day. Today, quite a lot of drinking water companies have added fluoride content to prevent the risk of tooth decay. Apply this method to keep the body hydrated so that it is able to continuously produce saliva. In addition, water can also help clean food residue that is stuck between the teeth effectively!
In fact, the existence of fluoridated water invites controversy, mainly because there is no clarity about the positive benefits of fluoridated water for dental health, and because some people worry about negative side effects after consuming fluoridated water for a long time
Step 12. Prevent cavities with the help of herbs
Antibacterial herbs can be used to control and prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth, you know! Some of them that are claimed to be very effective in producing this effect are cloves, thyme, goldenseal, oregon grape root, and oregano. Generally, these herbs can be made into a concentrated tea or diluted and used as a mouthwash.
- To make tea: Boil water and pour it into a covered bowl. Then, add about 2 tsp. (2 grams) of dried herbs for every 500 ml of water. Stir briefly, then cover the bowl to brew the herbs. Wait for the water to cool completely, then pour the strong tea into a closed container through a sieve to prevent the herb pulp from pouring out, and place the container in the refrigerator. Use up the tea within 2 weeks if refrigerated.
- To make a mouthwash: If you want to gargle with an antibacterial liquid, try pouring 1 part water and 1 part strong tea into a glass, then gargle with the solution for 1-2 minutes. After that, do not rinse the inside of your mouth with plain water for 5 minutes.
Method 3 of 3: Knowing the Right Time to See a Doctor
Step 1. Consult the problem of cavities to the doctor
If you think you have cavities (for example, if your teeth hurt, are more sensitive, hurt when you eat or drink, or look stained), see your doctor right away! A professional dentist can recommend a variety of effective ways to prevent tooth decay and improve overall health. In addition, the recommended medical methods are definitely safer and more reliable when compared to various home remedies that you have tried.
- Dental fillings are the most common method of treating cavities. In this method, the doctor will remove the decaying part of the tooth, then fill the empty cavity with a resin composite, porcelain, or other material.
- Remember, research that proves the benefits of natural remedies to treat cavities is very limited. In fact, one of the studies that found that eating more fruits, vegetables, meat, and vitamin D could treat cavities was done in 1932!
- It's best to fill the hole in the tooth as soon as possible. The sooner the hole is patched, the less likely it is to get worse. Also, if the hole is filled before it causes pain, you likely won't need more expensive follow-up treatments, such as root canal treatment.
Step 2. See a doctor regularly to check and clean your teeth
In general, everyone needs to have their teeth cleaned and checked by a doctor every 6 months. However, these rules will of course be adjusted to the condition of your current teeth. For example, if the cavity is deep enough, your doctor will most likely ask you to have your teeth checked and cleaned every 4 months.
- Regularly cleaning your teeth is effective in preventing the formation of new cavities. In addition, doctors can also find new holes that you are not aware of, and treat them before the condition gets worse.
- Follow the doctor's advice on how to properly care for your teeth, according to their structure and arrangement.
Step 3. Call your doctor immediately if you experience serious symptoms
Some dental problems actually must be treated immediately so that the condition does not get more serious. Therefore, immediately contact the nearest doctor or dental clinic if you experience dental problems that are classified as emergency, such as:
- One of the teeth cracked, broken, or changed position.
- Symptoms of an oral infection, such as swelling around the jaw, difficulty breathing, or pain that is so intense that it keeps you awake at night and doesn't go away even after taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Increased sensitivity to foods and drinks that taste sweet, and are too hot or too cold.
- Remember, oral health is very closely related to the health of your body as a whole. In particular, dental problems have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes and heart problems!
- The best way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is to prevent cavities from forming in the first place. That is why, you must really maintain oral hygiene and limit the consumption of sugary foods and drinks.