Tooth decay and cavities are among the world’s most common oral health problems. These problems are most often seen in children, teenagers and older adults. However, anyone can get cavities.
Dental cavities, also referred to as caries, are holes in the teeth caused by tooth decay. Decay usually occurs due to a bacterial infection that causes demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues in the teeth.
Certain factors can increase the risk of getting cavities, including foods that cling to your teeth for a long time, frequent snacking or sipping, poor oral hygiene, not getting enough fluoride, dry mouth, worn fillings or dental devices. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can also contribute to serious dental problems due to repeated purging.
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on the type and the severity of the problem. Some common symptoms include toothache, tooth sensitivity, mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking, visible holes or pits in the infected tooth, and black, brown or white stains on the tooth’s surface.
If cavities aren’t treated, they can lead to severe toothache, infection and even tooth loss. Some of the treatments for tooth decay and cavities are fillings, crowns and root canals.
The first step toward preventing cavities and stopping existing cavities from becoming worse is to take good care of your teeth. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Floss once a day and also clean your tongue daily.
There are also some natural remedies that can help provide relief and maintain good oral health. Also, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for tooth decay and cavities.
Clove is one of the most important ingredients for treating any kind of dental issue, including cavities. Due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial properties, clove can help alleviate pain and prevent the cavity from spreading.
- Dilute 2 to 3 drops of clove oil with 1/4 teaspoon of sesame seed oil. Put a few drops of this solution on a cotton ball and dab the solution on the affected tooth. Repeat every night before going to bed.
- Another option is to gently chew a whole clove to extract its oil. Then keep the clove under your tongue for several minutes.
Note: Do not use clove oil in excess or too frequently as it best used for temporary relief.
Salt can also be used to treat cavities due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can reduce inflammation, ease pain, draw out any infection and prevent growth of bacteria in the mouth.
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Swish a mouthful of this solution around in your mouth for 1 minute, concentrating on the affected tooth. Follow this treatment 3 times a day until your symptoms subside.
- Alternatively, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a little mustard oil or lemon juice to make a paste. Massage the gums gently with this paste for a few minutes, then gargle with warm water. Repeat twice daily for a few days to kill bacteria.
3. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an age-old practice that can reduce cavities as well as bleeding gums and bad breath. It helps clean the mouth of harmful bacteria that are responsible for different types of dental problems.
- Put 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth.
- Gently swish it around for about 20 minutes.
- Spit it out. Avoid gargling or swallowing the oil.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water. Use salt water for added antimicrobial benefits.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
- Do this daily in the morning, on an empty stomach.
This can also be done with sunflower or coconut oil.
Being rich in antibacterial as well as antibiotic properties, garlic is often recommended for tooth decay and cavities. It can also provide respite from pain and promote healthier gums and teeth.
- Prepare a paste from 3 to 4 crushed garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of rock salt. Apply it on the infected tooth. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing with a mouthwash. Do this twice daily for a few weeks to reduce cavities.
- You can also rub garlic oil on the affected tooth to get quick relief from pain due to a cavity.
- Eating raw garlic regularly can also provide effective results.
According to a study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, licorice root may help keep teeth healthy. There are two effective antibacterial compounds in dried licorice root – licoricidin and licorisoflavan A – that can prevent the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Plus, this herb can also reduce plaque.
- Use dried licorice root powder to brush your teeth on a regular basis.
- You can also use a soft stick of licorice like a toothbrush to brush your teeth daily.
In Ayurveda, turmeric is often used to provide respite from cavity pain. It has antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help keep the gums healthy and prevent tooth decay due to bacterial infection.
- Apply some turmeric powder on the affected teeth. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse well with warm water.
- Another option is to mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little mustard oil and use it to massage your teeth and gums. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then spit it out.
Repeat either of these remedies once or twice daily for at least a few days.