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.


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

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  • 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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