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Tooth Decay / Dental Caries Treatment

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems faced by majority of people in the world. Incidentally, it is also one of the most common chronic diseases affecting mankind!  It is caused when oral bacteria decompose food particles that get stuck in between teeth or on the chewing surfaces. During the process of decomposition, acids are formed in the mouth. These acidic substances destroy the enamel layer that covers teeth and trigger the onset of decay. If left untreated, decay goes to the inner layers of tooth and leads to dental caries or cavities.

Here are some of the most common causes of tooth decay. Dabur Meswak, a herbal toothpaste with pure extract of Miswak plant whose astringent and anti-bacterial properties help reduce tooth decay.

Read more about home remedies for toothache for pain relief


Tooth Decay / Dental Caries Symptoms & Causes

The most dangerous part about tooth decay is that symptoms are not caused in the initial stages. Besides a bit of negligible pain in the affected tooth, a person does not experience exceptional discomfort until the decay converts into cavities. At this stage, toothache becomes too severe to ignore. The symptoms may range from mild sensitivity to unbearable toothache along with swelling.
A tooth comprises of three layers – the outermost layer is called enamel, the middle layer called dentin and the center portion is called pulp. Decay always begins from the surface of the affected tooth with the destruction of enamel. The condition worsens as the decay begins to pierce through the surface and enters the inner layers. Based on the extent of damage, tooth decay is classified into different levels.
  • In the first level of decay, the affected area is very small and restricted to the surface. At this stage, fluoride treatments can be used to curb decay. The caries or the decay may be arrested or even reversed if the fluoride treatment is taken on time before the severe damage is done.
  • If decay is neglected in the initial stages, the problem deepens into the inner layers of the tooth. Cavitation or the actual loss of tooth structure is caused in this stage. There may be dentinal hypersensitivity or toothache. Dentists need to clean and fill cavities with the suitable material to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • The third stage of decay is the most severe. In this stage, the decaying portion affects the innermost layer of the tooth called pulp. At this stage, extreme pain and discomfort is caused because pulp is a sensitive area consisting of blood vessels and nerves. Blood supply to the tooth stops and the tooth dies. Subsequently, abscess forms at the root of the tooth in the bone area. The condition is called abscessed tooth and is extremely painful.

A dentist diagnoses tooth decay in the following ways:

  • Dental history: Enquiring about the patient’s previous dental conditions
  • Chief complaint: Enquiring about pain, sensitivity and discomfort in the recent past, its onset, progression, aggravating and relieving factors.
  • Using dental tools to probe in the affected area to detect soft spots. Dentists sometimes use a mirror to examine the tooth more closely 
  • Taking X-rays of the mouth in order to evaluate the extent to decay.

Based on these tests, the dentist diagnoses the exact cause of discomfort. In case it is an issue of decay, the dentist evaluates the extent of damage and prescribes treatment accordingly.

Read more about home remedies for toothache for pain relief


Tooth Decay / Dental Caries Treatment

In order to prevent tooth decay maintaining oral hygiene on a daily basis is crucial. Brushing twice a day, flossing, cleaning the tongue and following healthy dietary habits can save teeth from decay.
Brushing process:
  • Always use a soft bristled toothbrush. The end of the bristles should be rounded and the brush head should be small enough to reach the teeth at the back of the jaw
  • Replace your toothbrush once in 2-3 months.
  • If possible, use a electric powered toothbrush once or twice a week for more thorough cleaning
  • Fluoride toothpastes prevent formation of tartar and plaque, and hence, controls tooth decay
  • Ask the dentist about the right way of brushing teeth
  • Brush the tongue gently in order to remove plaque
  • Use mouthwash
  • Do not avoid inaccessible areas since these parts need thorough cleaning

Flossing process:

  • Floss once every day
  • Learn the right way of flossing such as the finger wrap method or circle method
  • Use the floss to scrape plaque off the teeth so that decay is prevented

Dietary consideration:

  • Sugary/ sticky are very dangerous for dental health. So, avoid them
  • Balanced meals that are inclusive of veggies, fruits, grains , nuts and low fats are essential
  • Consume dairy products
  • Do not take snacks at least an hour before going to bed

A very effective remedy against tooth decay is to brush and rinse using warm salted water. This prevents formation of bacteria and hence, prevents tooth decay.

Herbal and natural remedies to fight tooth decay

  • Camphor oil or clove oil: Dip a cotton swab in warm camphor or clove oil. Both these oils contain antiseptic properties. Applying this to affected area relieves pain and helps fight bacteria in the affected area. In case pain is more severe, a pinch of pepper can be added in the oil before application
  • Wheat grass juice: Drink juice of wheat grass twice every day. The medicinal properties in the juice kill bacteria and soothes the decaying area
  • Lemon-asafetida mixture: The high level of vitamin C present in lemon juice and rind is effective against decay. For better effect, mix a bit of asafetida with lime juice, warm the paste and apply on the affected tooth for instant relief
  • Onion-garlic paste: Onion and garlic are both strongly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agents. Crush onion and garlic blend them together and apply on the affected region. Another method is to place a pod of garlic or a slice of onion on the affected area and gently chew it so that the juice is released at the painful site. Garlic paste can also be mixed with rock salt and applied on the tooth. The presence of a chemical called Allicin  in garlic has very strong antibacterial properties, which along with salt, works wonders on the decaying tooth
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is another highly effective herb with strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Dip the toothbrush into turmeric powder and run it in the mouth for long lasting prevention against decay

Another simple and effective remedy is to place an ice pack at the lower jaw below the affected area. When it comes to tooth decay, prevention is the best remedy. Maintaining hygiene, eating healthy balanced meals and visiting a dentist regularly for teeth cleanups can help in preventing tooth decay.

Read more about home remedies for toothache for pain relief

1) Does the food and drinks we consume lead to cavities?

Yes, the food choices that we make can affect your teeth and gums and your overall oral health to a large extent. When you consume foods that are rich on sugar content & carbohydrates, artificially sweetened drinks and non-nutritious snacks etc., they tend to take a toll on your teeth. They attack the tooth’s enamel, resulting in its wear and tear and majorly contributes towards production of plaque that further weakens the tooth from the root and causes it to erode. With plaque comes the problem of tooth decay and cavities.


2) Is a toothache a potential warning sign?

Pain in the tooth that persists any longer than 48 hours must be taken seriously. It could be pointing at some underlying problem. People who get toothache, usually in the beginning get painful bouts of sensations on eating something too hot or too cold. Tooth sensitivity is a warning sign for tooth decay and so a visit to the dentist for a complete oral health check-up is always recommended.


3)Will brushing and flossing help prevent decay?

Yes it does. Regular brushing and flossing of teeth help remove food particles that get trapped in the pockets between tooth and gum. The main cause of cavity in the mouth is accumulation of germs causing bacteria inside the mouth that are spread as a result of poor oral hygiene. Maintain a proper dental care regime will remove the chance of bacteria formation and reduce the risk of cavities.

4)What are the most common causes of tooth decay?

Among the many known causes of tooth decay, the most common ones include an improper dental care regime; grinding of teeth; chipped or broken teeth; consumption of foods that are high on sugar and acidic content like candies, sweetened fruit juices and soda based drinks etc; smoking and consumption of other tobacco based products; gum infection or tooth abscess; gum diseases; and tooth trauma.


5) How to treat tooth decay?

Keeping your mouth and teeth clean by way of regular brushing and flossing is one of the most important ways in which you can protect your teeth against any kind of decay. Apart from this, cutting down smoking and consumption of other tobacco based products is highly recommended for good health of your tooth. Also, going low on sugar and gently cleaning your tongue post brushing session are some of the other things that go a long way in reducing the possibility of tooth decay.


6) Should I have my teeth cleaned?

A visit to the dentist every six month for a regular dental check-up is always a good idea. It not only upgrades you on the health of your teeth but also cuts down on the possibility of you getting any serious oral complications like tooth abscess and gum infection or disease among others. Regular cleaning of teeth is another way of reducing the risk of contracting dental problems as it aids in removal of plaque from the surface of the teeth, protection of  teeth from an onset of decay or cavity and all this while keeping them sparkling clean and white.

Read more about home remedies for toothache for pain relief

Herbal Toothpaste for Tooth Decay/Dental Caries

Dabur Meswak, a herbal toothpaste with pure extract of Miswak plant whose astringent and anti-bacterial properties help reduce tooth decay, fight plaque and prevent gum diseases.