Can you reverse cavities?

Nobody likes when the dentist ends the appointment by saying you have a cavity, or two. It seems that my dentist kept saying that every time I would visit.

Nobody likes when the dentist ends the appointment by saying you have a cavity, or two. It seems that my dentist kept saying that every time I would visit.

I’ll admit, my diet isn’t the healthiest, and I indulge in cookies rather often. I think I have multiple sweet teeth. But I do brush rather excessively, I floss often and even carry floss in my purse for those emergencies after lunch.

But still, the prognosis for cavities lingers. So what’s the unofficial Cookie Monster—a nickname my husband lovingly gave me—supposed to do in a situation such as this. Well, I went to the internet to see if there was anything else I could do to prevent future cavities—other than giving up my beloved cookies. I also wondered if there was any way to strengthen my teeth from decay.

Here’s what I found. According to MindBodyGreen.com, you actually can reverse cavities. Sounds too good to be true. But hear me out.

Food is one of the main factors in creating cavities. As “certain foods you eat create a perfect breeding ground for cavities to form. On the other hand, there are foods that bad oral bacteria hate, which equals fewer cavities.”

The status of the health of your teeth isn’t static. Your teeth are continuously being remineralized and demineralized, which just means your teeth are either taking in minerals and nutrients to remain strong during remineralization or they’re being exposed to acid from bacteria from certain foods and then excreting waste in the form of acid during demineralization.

Demineralization is the problem. The acid sits on certain areas of your tooth enamel and begins to eat away at your tooth and cause decay. Tooth decay happens when more demineralization is taking place than remineralization.

So how do you reverse that and keep those pearly whites their whitest and healthiest?

Balance is the key. Now don’t go grabbing for the mouthwash just yet. That actually can be detrimental. It gets rid of all the bacteria—good and bad—in your mouth. You want the good bacteria to remain.

You should brush two to three times a day and floss. This helps remineralization take place. But if your diet is crap, all the brushing and flossing won’t help much.

Not every single cavity can be reversed, but a lot of them can. For small cavities, diet can heal the tooth decay. Adding calcium-rich foods, such as salmon, almonds, spinach, kale and chia seeds among others, can help reverse small cavities.

Other great foods to add to your diet are Vitamin K foods—think egg yolk, hard and soft grass-fed cheeses, butter, chicken liver—and Vitamin D foods, such as mushrooms, shrimp, oysters and fatty fish.

Mineral-rich foods are great, as well. Add avocados, dark chocolate, legumes, chicken, leafy greens, turkey, grass-fed cheese, quinoa and nuts to your diet for best results.

Sadly, to reverse cavities, you do need to avoid sweets. I know you’re thinking of cookies—I know I am—but other sugary foods aren’t good either. Avoid pasta, corn, bread products, rice, processed foods—such as packaged meats and hot dogs, white potatoes and crackers.

So overall, this isn’t a quick fix, and it doesn’t feel like much help for those of us who live for cookies. But it is good news in general. Who knew you could reverse a cavity and save yourself some cash?

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass