What is Cavities:

Cavities are what you get from tooth decay – damage to the tooth. Tooth decay can affect both the outer coating of a tooth (called enamel) and the inner layer (called dentin). In other words a cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries (say: KARE-eez), and if you have a cavity, it’s important to get it repaired.

But why would your tooth develop a hole? Blame plaque. That’s a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs that cause tooth decay.

The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel.

Symptom of Cavities:

The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. An early cavity appears that has a light brown color on the tooth. The tooth color progressively becomes darker and a hole (cavitation) may appear. Symptoms, such as sensitivity to sweets and cold beverages or foods may occur. As the decay gets larger, it may

Basic Symptoms are:

1. Toothache
2.Tooth sensitivity
3.Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
4.Visible holes or pits in your teeth
5.Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
6.Pain when you bite down

Cause of Cavities:

Bacteria are normally found in your mouth. These bacteria change foods especially sugar and starch into acids. Bacteria, acid, food pieces, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque sticks to the teeth. It is most common on the back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth, and at the edges of fillings.

Plaque that is not removed from the teeth turns into a substance called tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, resulting in gingivitis and periodontists. Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If it is not removed, tooth decay will begin.

The acids in plaque damage the enamel covering your teeth, and create holes in the tooth (cavities). Cavities usually do not hurt, unless they grow very large and affect nerves or cause a tooth fracture. An untreated cavity can lead to a tooth abscess. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the inside of the tooth (pulp), which leads to tooth loss.

Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) increase the risk of tooth decay. Sticky foods are more harmful than non-sticky foods because they remain on the teeth. Frequent snacking increases the time that acids are in contact with the surface of the tooth.

Cavity Treatment:

As most dentists recommend, the best way to prevent a cavity is by brushing one’s teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing with an oral rinse. As the tooth begins to decay more severely, there are several treatments that a dentist can use to attempt to repair the tooth.

Treatment can help prevent tooth damage from leading to cavities. Treatment may involve:

1. Fillings
2. Crowns
3. Root canals
4. Get a fluoride treatment
5. If tooth cannot be saved, have it extracted.


Dentists fill teeth by removing the decayed tooth material with a drill and replacing it with a material such as silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or composite resin. Porcelain and composite resin more closely match the natural tooth appearance, and may be preferred for front teeth. Many dentists consider silver amalgam (alloy) and gold to be stronger, and these materials are often used on back teeth. There is a trend to use high strength composite resin in the back teeth as well.


Crowns or “caps” are used if tooth decay is extensive and there is limited tooth structure, which may cause weakened teeth. Large fillings and weak teeth increase the risk of the tooth breaking. The decayed or weakened area is removed and repaired. A crown is fitted over the remainder of the tooth. Crowns are often made of gold, porcelain, or porcelain attached to metal.

Root Canals:

A root canal is recommended if the nerve in a tooth dies from decay or injury. The center of the tooth, including the nerve and blood vessel tissue (pulp), is removed along with decayed portions of the tooth. The roots are filled with a sealing material. The tooth is filled, and a crown is usually needed.

Get a fluoride treatment:

Fluoride treatments are used in the early stages of cavities, as fluoride can help teeth to restore themselves. The treatment consists of a gel varnish, liquid solution or foam fluoride which is used to coat the teeth and strengthen the tooth’s enamel. When you undergo fluoride treatment, the dentist applies the fluoride in one of 2 ways: he/she will either apply the fluoride directly onto your teeth or places it into a tray that fits over your teeth. The treatment takes approximately 3 minutes to complete.

If the tooth cannot be saved, have it extracted:

The only option for cavities that have affected the entire tooth is an extraction.

Your teeth are extracted if they are badly damaged and cannot be saved using any of the other methods. Once a tooth is extracted it can leave a gap. While this is undesirable for aesthetic reasons, it may also cause other teeth to move around inside the mouth, which can cause a whole new set of problems.

Therefore, you should consider getting a bridge or dental implant to fill the gap and replace your missing tooth.

Treating Cavities at Home:

Treating tooth decay at home to avoid future fillings may sound too good to be true, but it could be the next big dental breakthrough.

1. Clove:

An individual can use a mixture of clove oil (2 teaspoons) and black pepper powder (1/4th teaspoon) for brushing teeth to treat the problem of tooth cavities. Applying clove oil with a cotton swab on the infected tooth can reduce the pain resulting from tooth cavities. A clove can be directly placed on the infected tooth to obtain relief.

2. Warm Water:

An individual can use warm water while brushing teeth to reduce the tooth pain resulting from cavities. Warm water containing salt can be used for gargling or rinsing the mouth to effectively deal with the problem of cavities.

3. Lemon:

An individual can create a mixture with the use of lemon juice (4 teaspoons) and asafoetida powder (half teaspoon) and rub teeth with the help of a cotton ball dipped in this mixture on a daily basis to reduce the problem of tooth cavities.Chewing a slice of lemon along with its skin can also help in the treatment of cavities. Another option is to use lemon juice as a brushing agent to obtain quick relief.

4. Onion:

An individual can place a slice of onion on the infected tooth to treat the pain resulting from cavities. Regular consumption of onion can help in reducing the problem of tooth cavities. It is advisable for an individual to consume food items containing onion to deal with the problem of tooth cavities.

5. Garlic:

Application of a paste prepared with the use of garlic (3 – 4 cloves) and rock salt (1/4th teaspoon) on the infected teeth 2 to 3 times in a day can help in reducing the cavities. An individual can use garlic oil for rubbing teeth to obtain quick results. Regular consumption of garlic also can provide effective results.

6. Drink Wheatgrass Juice:

Regular intake of wheatgrass juice can help in reducing the pain resulting from tooth cavities. Further, it also helps in preventing tooth decay and treating the problem of cavities. Chewing wheatgrass can also provide effective results.

7. Cheese:

Cheese is considered as an excellent home remedy for treating the problem of tooth cavities. Cheese can be consumed directly or as a part of different food items to obtain relief from the problem of cavities.

8. Mustard Oil:

Brushing teeth with a mixture prepared with the use of mustard oil and lemon juice 2 to 3 times in a day can help in reducing cavities. It is advisable for an individual suffering from cavities to perform this process atleast 10 to 15 minutes before brushing the teeth with a normal toothpaste.

9. Mint Leaves:

An individual can prepare a tonic by boiling mint leaves (6 – 8) in water (2 cups). Rinsing mouth with this tonic can help in treating the problem of cavities. Consumption of a tea prepared with mint leaves is also recommended for an individual suffering from the problem of cavities.

10. Margosa Leaves:

Chewing margosa leaves is an effective home remedy for treating the problem of cavities. Consumption of a juice prepared with the use of margosa leaves can also provide the desired results.

11. Cold Water or Ice:

An individual can wash her/his mouth with a glass of cold water containing lemon juice 3 to 4 times in a day to treat and control cavities. Ice pack or ice cubes wrapped in a small towel can be placed externally near the infected tooth. This process can reduce the pain resulting from tooth cavities.

12. Drink Cranberry Juice:

Consumption of cranberry juice helps in improving oral hygiene. Regular intake of cranberry juice can provide relief from the symptoms of cavities.

Preventing Cavities:

Preventing tooth decay and cavities involves these simple steps:

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one appears. Brush the teeth, tongue, and gums twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, or supervise them brushing their teeth.
    1. For children less than 3 years old, use only a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
    2. Starting at 3 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth daily after age 2.
  • Make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet and limit or eliminate sugary snacks.
  • Consult your child’s health care provider or dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride , if you live in an area without fluoridated water.
  • Also ask about dental sealants and fluoride varnish. Both are applied to the teeth.
  • Have regular check ups. Visiting your dentist just twice a year can help you to get ahead of your cavities.
  • Regularly using a mouthwash can help to kill bacteria, remove plaque, prevent gum disease and protect against bad breath.
  • Get sealants on your teeth. If you don’t already have them, sealants are a good way to protect your teeth against cavities.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Some sugarless gums can actually help you to avoid cavities, as chewing them increases saliva production, helping to get rid of food particles trapped between the teeth.