How To prevent Tooth Decay - Natural remedies and Care

06 July 2024

Dental caries or tooth decay, has now overtaken the common cold as the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults world-wide. Even though it is largely preventable, nearly 90% of all adults worldwide have had tooth decay at some point in their lives (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) You may be one of many, looking for ways to stay out of the dental surgery and find more holistic home treatments for cavities. You should know there are currently no remedies to remove tooth decay naturally. Once a cavity is present it requires a dental visit to repair it. However, there’s good news. You can still avoid fillings by focusing on preventing them altogether. Read on to learn how DIY dental care starts in the bathroom and find out what you can do to support your oral health at home.  

Understanding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the demineralisation or softening of enamel. It happens when dental plaque breaks down the sugar from our food and turns it into acid. With time, the acid gradually dissolves the enamel and makes a hole through to the inside of the tooth. The resulting hole is known as a dental cavity. Without treatment the decay will continue to spread until eventually the tooth is destroyed.

If detected early the demineralisation can be managed correctly. The enamel can be repaired or remineralised to stop the progression of dental decay. Early recognition is imperative so visiting your dentist or dental hygienist should remain a top priority for anyone wishing to practice natural oral health.  

Once dental decay has become a cavity, you won’t be able to get rid of it at home so be wary of home remedies that claim otherwise. Most are based on anecdotal evidence or studies pre-dating our modern understating of disease. It is always best to consult with your dentist before trying new wonder treatments, particularly those trending on social media platforms that look too good to be true. Remember you can’t remove tooth decay naturally but you can prevent it.  

Natural Remedies For Tooth Decay

The best way to avoid dental decay is by developing good oral hygiene habits and maintaining those regimes every day. Most so called natural remedies such as oil pulling, drinking green tea, applying aloe vera gels or chewing liquorice to name a few, are based around the idea that because they contain antibacterial properties, they can reduce the growth of the micro-organisms that contribute to tooth decay, thus preventing it. However, as the mouth provides the perfect dark, warm & moist habitat to support the growth of such bacteria, the effects of these remedies tends to be transient and last only a short time.  

More studies are required to support these theories however there is good evidence that eating foods or using products that promote a healthy oral microbiome, can help to reduce the risk of developing dental disease such as decay or gum disease by regulating acidity, flushing away toxins, fighting bad bacteria and providing a continuous supply of nutrients to the beneficial bacteria. Investing in habits that promote a healthy oral microbiome is one of the best ways to establish natural oral health. There is still much to discover in this area but it stands to reason that increasing the healthy bacteria in the mouth and the quality of the oral micro-flora, will improve resistance to disease.  

Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body well hydrated is another important part of oral health. Not only does it support healthy cell growth but it allows a healthy saliva flow rate too. Saliva contains proteins & minerals that protect the tooth enamel. It also reduces the risk of dental decay by neutralising acids produced from the food we eat and fighting the germs that live in our mouths. Having a reduced saliva flow can pave the way for disease so ensure you drink the recommended daily amount of water.  

Fluoride is a mineral that is known to prevent dental caries and is the only proven remedy for early tooth decay. It works by strengthening the enamel and protecting it from acid attacks throughout the day.

In cases where tooth decay is caught early enough, dentists might use a high concentration fluoride varnish to reverse the effects of early decay by remineralising the affected enamel. They may also prescribe a higher fluoride containing toothpaste, usually much higher strength than that which can be bought over the counter. Always follow your dentists guidance on the use of higher strength fluoride.

Fluoride is also available in mouthwash, gel and tablet form. In some countries it is added to water by public health authorities particularly in deprived communities or those areas with known high counts of dental disease.  

Eating a healthy, balanced diet, low in sugary carbohydrates and high in fresh, crunchy vegetables will not only help to support your overall health but  will also help to naturally clean your teeth and prevent dental decay. Chewing crunchy food, also called mastication, is a great way to naturally remove food particles and stimulate saliva. It also helps to clean the tongue which is an important part of maintaining a healthy oral environment. There is good evidence to support the use of sugar free chewing gum after eating, particularly one which contains xylitol.

Enhancing Your Daily Oral Hygiene Practices  

It should be clear by now that prevention is better than cure when it comes to dental decay. Here are some ways you can enhance your daily routine to increase the chances of not developing decay.  

- Use floss or interdental aids daily to remove biofilm  

- Brush your teeth morning and night with an oscillating & rotating electric tooth brush and fluoride toothpaste.

- Use a mouthwash containing fluoride and essential oils which are known to inhibit plaque growth rate and prevent its attachment to tooth surfaces.  

- Reduce your intake of sugar, carbonated drinks & acidic foods. Confine these to mealtimes only and use sweeteners in hot drinks instead of sugar. Choose foods that have a low sugar content but also require lots of crunching and chewing to help cleanse the teeth and stimulate saliva.

How Visiting The Dentist Can Support Holistic Oral Health

As mentioned throughout this blog, DIY dental care is only relevant when discussing prevention. Visiting your dentist and dental hygienist for regular check-ups and dental cleaning should still form an integral part of your prevention regime.  

You can go one step further by choosing a dental practice that offers Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) as standard.  

Guided biofilm therapy focuses heavily on perfecting your home-care regime, offering up-to-date diet advice and cleaning your teeth with airflow which uses a soft powder containing anti-caries and anti-plaque properties. It is the most gental dental clean available and by avoiding harsh (often abrasive) polishing pastes, it also supports tooth enamel health.  

While some of the natural remedies discussed above can provide temporary relief and help with prevention at home, the integration of Guided Biofilm Therapy offers a professional treatment that significantly reduces the risk of tooth decay and other dental diseases. 

Remember the key to natural remedies lies in proactive oral healthcare, regular dental visits and making the right choices before tooth decay has started. If you’re interested in learning more about GBT, use the SwitchtoGBT’s website to help you understand when and how to opt for professional GBT treatments.