The worst has happened. You’ve looked in the mirror and noticed the formation of a small cavity on one or more of your teeth, but you can’t afford to visit the dentist right away for one reason or another. What do you do now? While visiting the dentist to have the cavity properly treated is always the best course of action, there are a few steps we can take to help slow the growth of cavities to prevent them from becoming deep or painful in the all to near future. So what are these methods, and how do they work? Let’s take a look at a few of them and see what our options are.
Things to keep in mind when treating a cavity at home
Remember that the best solution to treating your cavity is to get it filled promptly and properly by a dentist. All of these remedies are simply short-term measures to prevent the spreading and pain that come with a severe cavity from arriving too soon. The goal here is to buy you time so you can save money, do research, and find a good dentist to help you solve the cavity problem once and for all with proper treatment. A cavity that is left without proper treatment can get worse and eventually grow deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the nerve and causing great pain and even more significant damage. These remedies can help to provide some relief in the time until you can have your cavity properly filled, or even slow or stop the infection in its tracks. Please do try to see your dentist as soon as possible when treating a cavity.
With that important understanding to help put these remedies into the proper context, let’s explore several methods for slowing the growth of cavities which have begun to form.
Swish with Oil of Oregano
Some people have achieved good results by using Oil of Oregano as a natural antiseptic to prevent tooth decay. A study in 2008 discovered that one of the naturally occurring compounds found in Oregano had strong antimicrobial properties. You can brush with Oil of Oregano daily to help slow the growth of cavities and prevent further tooth decay from forming in your mouth.
Use a Sage Mouthwash
Sage has antibacterial properties that can help to cure tooth decay. To use the Sage remedy, boil sage leaves in water and use the water as a regular mouthwash as you would any other.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener which can help to prevent the spread of bacteria and prevent tooth decay. For these reasons, it is often used in toothpastes as an ingredient. Xylitol is available in toothpaste, rinses, wipes, and sprays. You can use these products several times each day to slow the progress of a cavity. Director of the Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, and professor of dental health sciences Dr. Peter Milgrom says Xylitol helps to stop bacteria in the mouth from emitting the acid that causes tooth decay and cavities, while also making it more difficult for these bacteria to find shelter on the teeth, gums, and other areas inside the mouth.
Apply Drops of Clove Oil
Cloves are an established natural remedy to treat toothaches. To use the Clove Oil toothache treatment, simply apply one or two drops of Clove Oil to the actual spot of the tooth cavity and allow it to soak into the cavity.
Chew on Neem
You can brush with Neem sticks or chew on the leaves or seeds to destroy cavity causing bacteria. This method has been used for many years. More recently, a 1996 study found that these Neem sticks do in fact slow down the formation of harmful plaque, which leads to cavity formation and growth.
Drink or Swish with Green Tea
Drinking (unsweetened, or at least sugar-free) Green Tea daily can help to eliminate harmful bacteria buildup in your mouth. Why does this work? Green Tea contains a decent amount of naturally occurring Fluorine which acts as a tooth decay preventative. You can even use Green Tea to gargle or swish with it to use it as a mouthwash. Just be sure to not replace your actual mouthwash with Green Tea, and only use it as a supplemental mouthwash in addition to your primary mouthwash.
Chew on Licorice Root
Chewing on licorice root can help slow tooth decay. Licorice Root is a natural antimicrobial which inhibits the very bacteria which cause cavities to form and grow. Keep in mind that Licorice Root is not the same as Licorice candy! Rather, this is the actual root of the herb itself from which the candy is flavored. You can often find Licorice Root at your local health food store.
Make Dietary Changes to Reduce Sugar and Sugar Residue
In addition to remedies, general dietary changes can also help to slow the advance of tooth decay. If you are regularly consuming sweet, sugary snacks and sweetened drinks such as fruit juices or sodas, you are actually helping the tooth decay to spread by feeding the bacteria which created it. To slow the tooth decay, you should consider reducing your consumption of sugary snacks and beverages. In addition, it can help to use a straw when you do consume things like soda and fruit juice, so the sticky sugars bypass your teeth. Then, it is a good idea to brush and floss immediately afterwards, perhaps followed up by a good antibacterial mouthwash. The idea here is to prevent sugar residue from remaining in your mouth and feeding the bacteria, which will allow them to multiply and spread.
Develop Good Dental Hygiene Habits
Finally, make sure you are practicing good dental hygiene habits. All of the above are remedies which can help to treat a problem which has already developed. However, we must recognize that the tooth decay probably would not have become an issue in the first place if proper dental hygiene habits were being practiced.
Make sure to brush at least twice each day, floss carefully, and use a good mouthwash product regularly. Ideally you should brush and floss each day before bed and after getting up in the morning, as well as after each meal. Use mouthwash at least two times per day to help slow the development of tooth decay.
At the end of the day, all of these remedies and changes can help you delay the advance of a cavity, but remember, try to see your dentist as soon as possible to get that cavity properly treated, as getting a filling is the only truly permanent way to treat a cavity and prevent it from growing any further. Hopefully you find these tips helpful, and you are able to get back to having a healthy and happy mouth!