Tooth decay can heal itself

Did you know that if you have tooth decay (caries), it has potential to heal itself? This sounds too good to be true and you're probably thinking, "then why do we need to do fillings?" or "how did I end up needing a root canal?"

It is certainly true but it can only happen when the moon aligns with the sun and Jupiter. What I mean is that it requires specific criteria and situations for it to happen.

The outer surface of teeth is called enamel, and it is made up of mainly mineral, with an organic mesh work in between the minerals. Similar to concrete, where there's the steel wire frames embedded inside the concrete walls.

In the early stages of decay, the acid dissolves the mineral but the organic framework will still be intact, so the overall shape and contour of your teeth will still be present. Is it only during this period, that minerals can redevelop and return your tooth to health. Once the framework is lost and a physical cavity has formed, it cannot heal itself.

This can be commonly seen in the grooves (fissures) of your teeth. If you see dark stain on them, it is likely to be healed decay. When it heals, it commonly becomes, stained, as the food stains will also get trapped inside.

It is because teeth can heal themselves, it is important to see a dentist every 6 months, so we can detect early decay and concentrate on trying to get it to heal itself. Once it becomes a physical hole, it will trap more bacteria and food, which in turn increases the speed of the decay. A smaller filling is always better than a larger one!

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