Getting a cavity is an unpleasant experience — and a painful reminder that teeth, unlike bones, can’t heal themselves once they’re damaged.

Cavities are the product of a tug-of-war happening every day in your mouth. Teeth are surrounded by super-hard minerals that form the enamel. Acid from sugary, starchy foods wears down that enamel. Saliva comes to the rescue with buffers, enzymes, and water that raise the pH in the mouth. That allows the minerals that make up the enamel to build back up.

A cavity forms when there’s too much acid for saliva to balance back out. And when the tooth erodes, there aren’t any living cells around to swoop in and heal the tooth.

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We investigate how teeth get harmed and why they can’t heal in the new episode of “Boddities.”

Watch other “Boddities” episodes:

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  • I would have totally agreed with you that badly damaged teeth cannot heal if I didn’t watch as my friend’s sons’ teeth did just that. They went from needing a root canal for one son and multiple pulpectomies to teeth gradually healing and hardening—brownish to yellowish then whitish. Her dentist was willing to see the boys and make sure things didn’t worsen. Instead, we all saw them heal. A low carb diet and specific tooth care changed history for me!

    I will note that her son’s baby teeth healed at incredible rates while it took about three times longer for the other son’s adult tooth to heal. Remineralization can take place —with strict diet and determination —something that most won’t be willing to commit!

    My own granddaughters could benefit from this knowledge, but their birth dad refuses to not give them sugar the four days a week he has them, so there’s no chance to even try it myself. (He, also, refuses to stop smoking in front of them —they’ve been sick four major times since November when the judge ordered the visits!!! The younger girl even had pneumonia. Pray the next hearing sees those visits END not increase!!! In Jesus Name!!!)

  • Ahhhhh, this video pains me to watch. Brushing right after eating, while pH is low means your enamel is weak and you can brush away enamel. So you should drink water and eat basic foods after meals and wait to brush until after the acid attack has passed, which is approximately 30min after eating cariogenic foods. I’m not sure if this was a miscommunication with the dental professor in the video or if they are just not abreast of the most recent research demonstrating the risk of brushing while acid levels remain high. Please feel free to contact me for more information or references. Megan E. Miller, DDS

  • Gums can regain health and teeth can be firmly placed in the gums after being loose with a technique called oil pulling.
    My gums have gone from inflamed with pockets near the teeth to very healthy with no pockets thanks to oil pulling.
    It also reduces mouth and body bacteria.

  • If you consider the bacteria that comprise 90% of all humans an infection then the public is grossly misinformed about health and wellness including oral health. If your dentist told you this is an infection you were given erroneous information. If you are a dentist you need to go back an read the latest science on the oral biome..,

    • Sorry but dysbiosis is now considered the cause of caries, periodontitis, sinusitis and other chronic disorders. Read the literature resulting precisely from the science in the oral microbiome and you will find indeed that lack of diversity on the biofilm results in pathogenesis. I am not a dentist but rather a leader of the largest series of controlled studies to prove this very point. I am informed.

  • Sorry, not near complete. You need to mention the source of the acid, the imbalance in the dental plaque (dysbiosis) and how to shift back to symbiosis. Like many dentists, you have blamed the victim for eating sweets. Cavities result from from a bacterial infection.

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