Tooth decay is the number one cause of dental visits. Tooth decay is a major issue because, for many people, there are no signs until a cavity appears in one or more teeth. While a cavity must be filled, and it can not be reversed, there are ways to reverse tooth decay, or prevent the problem from becoming worse and causing more cavities. We’ve collected five tips that will help you reverse tooth decay.

1. Change What You DrinkĀ 

Drinking coffee, sodas, and other sugar-laden beverages are bad for the teeth. The acid in coffee can breakdown the protective coating on teeth, and sugar-based drinks combine with plaque to create a film over the tooth that will wear away at the enamel and cause cavities. Dentists suggest sticking to water for beverages. When you aren’t drinking water, consider using a straw. A straw will help the liquid bypass the surface of the teeth, where it does the most damage.

2. Check with Your Primary Care Doctor

Speaking to your primary care doctor about any problems you are experiencing may help to reduce tooth decay. For example, if you have acid reflux disease that is untreated, the acid may rise into the mouth and can erode the teeth quickly. Getting acid reflux under control, whether by way of medication or over-the-counter antacids can he helpful in reversing tooth decay.

3. Brush Often and Correctly

Brushing is the easiest way to prevent and reverse tooth decay. By brushing two to three times a day, for two to three minutes at a time, you’ll keep your teeth clean and remove the plaque that currently resides on your teeth. To do this properly, ask your dentist how you should be brushing, and remember to change out your tooth brush every six weeks to three months, or when it becomes worn.

4. Don’t Forget Professional Cleaning

See your doctor every six months for a professional, deep cleaning. Professional tooth cleaning utilizes special tools and techniques to remove the plaque that causes tooth decay. This is plaque that your ordinary toothbrush may miss, so having a professional cleaning can make a huge difference in tooth decay. Neglecting regular cleanings and checkups is one way that tooth decay can evolve into significant tooth problems, so be mindful and keep your appointments.

5. Keep Hydrated and Chew Sugarless Gum

Staying hydrated, and chewing sugarless gum can help reverse tooth decay, by creating more saliva. Saliva is a natural wash for the mouth. When you have more saliva, it keeps the acid at bay in your mouth, it can also help to wash away any food particles that are on your teeth between brushes. Sugarless gum also has a natural sweetener that may help to breakdown plaque. Chew on sugarless gum after meals were brushing isn’t a possibility, such as a lunch, and remember to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Both can help to reverse tooth decay.

Before attempting to deal with a dental issue on your own, remember, it is important to see your dentists to discuss your oral health. A dental professional can help you figure out how severe the problem is, what needs to be done, and the time scale for which it should be done. Most importantly, only a dental professional can tell you the level of tooth decay that is apparent, which will alter the treatment and course of action you should take at home.