CauseAcid. That is the root cause to tooth decay. Acid in our mouth is created when the bacteria in our mouth is combined with sugar. This acid can attack your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you finish eating. The acid demineralizes, weakens, the structure of your tooth. The acid will not always attack the whole tooth, or every tooth, but where acid comes into sustained contact with enamel, it eats away at it. This process happens over and over again, which results in acid erosion, creating the hole (cavity) in your tooth.
The tooth has 3 main layers to it. The first, outer, layer is called the enamel. This is the hard outer layer of the tooth. The second, middle, layer is called the dentin. Finally, the third, inside layer, of the tooth is called the pulp. The pulp is the center of the tooth and contains nerves and blood vessels. As tooth decay penetrates additional layers of the tooth the more pain and damage is done to the tooth. Waiting too long to care for tooth decay can result in having to remove that tooth and can possibly lead to other problems.
The following likely will increase your risk of tooth decay:
- Irregular brushing and flossing of your teeth.
- Lack of fat soluble vitamins (mainly vitamins A and D).
- Eating, in excess, foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates.
- Constant dry mouth. Saliva helps remove food from your mouth, which helps remove sugar from your mouth.
- Lack of minerals in your diet.
- Diet high in phytic acid.
- Diet consisting of high amounts of processed foods (Standard American Diet “SAD”).
- The use of tobacco products.
- Children. The teeth are still growing and much like any other body part or organ that is growing, the minerals in the tooth is not as strong as an adults. This makes it easier for the acid to erode the tooth.
- Frequent snacking provides a constant stream of food for the bacteria in your mouth to produce acid and decay the tooth.
- Alcohol. Alcohol increases the amount of sugar you intake and it also dries your mouth out. The added sugar creates more opportunity for acid to develop and drying out your mouth does not allow your saliva to remineralize you teeth or remove food from your mouth.
SymptomsThe most common indicator of tooth decay is pain and discomfort. However, not all tooth decay will create pain and discomfort. Below are some common symptoms that indicate you may have tooth decay.
- Pain and discomfort.
- Sensitivity to eating and drinking hot, cold and sweet foods.
- Visible holes. Tooth decays holes may be visible and can be white, yellow, brown and even black.
- Bad breath (especially if the odor seems to be coming from a specific tooth).
- Bad taste in your mouth.
- Swelling and pain in your gums near the decaying tooth.
PreventionPrevention is always the best medicine to any problem. While there are some unpreventable risks of tooth decay, there are still several ways you can help prevent tooth decay.
- Limit grazing on foods and drinks throughout the day. It is ok to still eat at regular intervals and eat snacks, but it is important to be watchful as to the frequency you are eating and drinking.
- Limit the types of foods you are eating and drinking. Limiting the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you intake throughout the day limits the amount of acid produced in your mouth. Drinking more natural water and herbal teas can help clear your mouth of any excess food and help remineralize your teeth. Also, foods like strawberries, hard cheeses (cheddar and parmesan) and xylitol all can help remineralize your teeth.
- Better oral hygiene. Oral hygiene for 2 to 3 minutes a day, 2 or 3 times a day, will help prevent tooth decay. Better oral hygiene helps remove and limit the amount of plaque on your teeth, which reduces the amount of acid-producing bacteria in your mouth.
HealingUnfortunately, you can follow all of the prevention tips and still end up with tooth decay. However, there are multiple different ways you can try to naturally heal your tooth decay and avoid a trip to the dentist
- Increase fat soluble vitamins A and D.
- Taking 1 teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil and 1 teaspoon of high vitamin butter oil daily will increase your fat soluble vitamin A and D levels.
- Drink 1 to 2 cups of bone broth daily.
- Bone broth is full of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and minerals (trace minerals) that are depleted from our food supply.
- Use a remineralizing tooth paste.
- Try oil pulling.
- Oil pulling involves putting 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and 2 drops of essential oil into your mouth and swishing for 10 to 20 minutes. Once you are done swishing you spit out the oil and rinse with warm water. Finish by brushing your teeth.
- Trace mineral drops. Take 10 trace mineral drops in the morning.
- Fermented cod liver oil (see above).
- Eggshells (click here to see the benefits of eggshells).
- Boil 8 to 10 eggshells in water for about 5 minutes. Let the eggshells air dry and then grind them into a fine powder. Ingest ½ a teaspoon a day of the eggshells (you can sprinkle this over your food or just mix with a cup of water).