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Yes, You Can Reverse a Cavity—Here’s How

Those white spots on your teeth might be trying to tell you something (like that your mouth is suffering a plaque attack).

Mental Floss

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xray of a person's mouth; dental tools atop it

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While it’s easy to get cavities filled at the dentist, one look at the bill might make you wish you had magically reversed the decay on your own.

According to Lifehacker, you actually can. Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in plaque produce acids that wear down the mineral-heavy enamel on your teeth. Eventually, this erosion results in a full-fledged hole right through your tooth, at which point you’ll have no choice but to ask your dentist to fill it. Luckily, tooth decay often reveals itself long before you reach that stage. As acids start to weaken the enamel, you might see a white spot on your tooth—meaning it’s time to beef up your enamel’s resistance before the decay progresses any further.

Since fluoride can help restore key minerals and mitigate bacteria’s acid production, you should brush your teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride (and drink water that contains fluoride, too). Another important tactic to reverse tooth decay is to cut down on foods and beverages with a lot of starch and/or sugar, which are heavily responsible for plaque formation and acid production. If you are planning to sink your teeth into a sweet treat, it’s best to do it when you’re already having a meal. Having fewer snacks throughout the day gives your saliva—which also restores minerals—a chance to do its job.

And, of course, you should brush your teeth twice a day to prevent further plaque buildup. Here’s how to do it correctly.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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This post originally appeared on Mental Floss and was published January 18, 2021. This article is republished here with permission.

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