Thursday, July 11, 2024

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Cavities(Tooth Decay): Causes, Symptoms and Home Remedies

Your teeth could be the centre of attention and a crowd-puller. But painful cavities ruin the show, literally. Cavities are the worst thing to happen in tooth-related problems. So much so that eating or drinking can become hell for you.

What is Cavities?

Decay or softening of the tooth enamel happens with time. The end result? CAVITY. Our precious teeth are covered with enamel which is a hard, protective top layer. The sad part is that the enamel gets tarnished by acids produced by bacteria. This creates a pit or cavity in or on the tooth surface.


  1. Certain types of foods and drinks: Foods that cling to your teeth (such as sugars and starchy foods) are the main agents of tooth decay and cavities. Did you know honey, raisins, hard candy, dry cereal and bread promote plaque?
  1. Repeated Snacking: If you snack on a frequent basis, no matter the food type, the acid in the food is likely to damage your teeth. The tip is to brush your teeth immediately after your meals, as it will reduce the chances of plaque formation.
  1. Receding Gums: In the event of receding gums, plaque build-up can happen near the roots of the teeth which are not protected by tooth enamel.
  1. Inadequate brushing: Plaque needs an excuse to form if teeth are not brushed after eating or drinking.
  1. Dry mouth: Lack of saliva causes dry mouth. The risk of cavities deepens with certain medications or certain chemotherapy drugs which reduce saliva production.
  1. Worn Tooth Fillings: With the passage of time, dental fillings can weaken up, begin to break down or develop rough edges. This creates room for plaque build-up, making it harder to remove.
  1. Eating disorders: Lack (or loss) of appetite can cause tooth erosion and cavities and interfere with saliva production.
  1. Heartburn: Did you know Heartburn can cause acid reflux in your mouth? This wears away the tooth enamel and leads to tooth damage.



How to identify?

Depending on the extent, the cavity symptoms can vary. As the decay gets larger, then the following symptoms can crop up:

  1. Toothache: This is pain while chewing food which occurs without any specific reason
  1. Tooth Sensitivity: This increases with the kind of foods eaten and past dental history.
  1. Tooth pain: Mild or sharp which crops up when you are eating or drinking anything sweet, hot or cold.
  1. Holes or pits in your teeth: Mind you, they are visible.
  1. Tooth stain: Brown, black or white stains/spots on the tooth surface.
  1. Bad breath: Meaning bad taste in the mouth
  1. Extra Sensitivity to Temperature: Especially to hot or cold liquids and foods.
  1. Bleeding Gums when Brushing: This happens due to gum irritation from the damaged nerve.


Home Remedies for Cavities

1. Clove

What all you need: Clove oil


  1. Put a bit of clove oil on your forefinger.
  1. Massage the cavity with it (but lightly).

How it works: Apply clove oil 2-3 times a day to get relief from the pain caused due to cavities and tooth decay. Clove oil has “eugenol”, a key essential oil which is responsible for this analgesic action.

Tip: If the cavity is hard to reach, use a cotton swab, dip it in clove oil and then apply.

2. Garlic

What all you need: One Garlic Clove


  1. Start your morning by chewing garlic clove, but on an empty stomach.
  1. Repeat this every day in the morning.

How it works: Yeah, chewing garlic sounds repulsive on its own. But its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties prove its worth by bringing relief from cavity pain.


3. Indian Lilac (Neem)

What all you need: Neem leaves (a bunch)


  1. Just rub the juice of neem leaves on the gums and cavities.
  1. Rinse it off with warm water (after few minutes).
  1. Do it once or twice daily.

How it works: Indian Lilac (Neem) is noted for its anti-bacterial properties which easily destroys cavity-causing bacteria. Thereby, maintaining healthy and strong teeth and gums.

Tip: Heard of “neem sticks” which our grandparents used for dental hygiene? You can use them too for brushing your teeth.

4. Oil Pulling with Sesame Oil

What all you need: 1 tbsp sesame oil


  1. Put 1 tbsp sesame oil in your mouth
  1. Swish it in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spit out.
  1. Let there be no gargling or swallowing of the sesame oil.
  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water (preferably warm salt water)
  1. Then get back to brushing your teeth
  1. Do this on an empty stomach in the morning daily,

How it works: This age-old practice of “Oil Pulling” helps in reducing the scope of cavities. It also stops bleeding gums and bad breath.

Tip: You can do this remedy with sunflower or coconut oil too.

5. Licorice

What all you need: Licorice root (in dried form)


  1. Keep chewing on one end of the licorice root till the root fibers come out.
  1. Then rub these licorice root fibers on your teeth and gums.
  1. Rinse your mouth with clean water.

How it works: Licorice root has oral bacteria-fighting antibacterial properties.

Tip: You can also use licorice root every day as a toothbrush. Sounds innovative, right?

6. Wheatgrass

What all you need: Wheatgrass juice


  1. Drink one full cup of wheatgrass juice in the morning time.

How it works: The juice of wheatgrass not only kills the bacteria in the mouth, it also helps reduce the pain which happens with tooth decay.


7. Salt

What all you need: 1 tsp table salt or Epsom salt, and a glass of warm water


  1. Put salt in warm water and mix it well.
  1. Do a mouth-rinse and gargle with it.
  1. See to it that you rinse the cavities thoroughly.

How it works: Salt water is the most common home remedy when it comes to tackling tooth-related pain.

Tip: Gargle with salt water two times a day for best results.

8. Turmeric

What all you need: Turmeric powder


  1. Apply turmeric powder on your cavities or affected teeth
  1. After few minutes, rinse it well with warm water.

How it works: Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-cancerous. So, you can well imagine its effect on cavities.

Tip: The optional way of using turmeric: Mix 1/2 tsp turmeric powder with few drops of mustard oil. Massage this paste on your affected teeth and gums. Let it stay on for 10 minutes, then spit it out. Follow any of these two remedies once or twice a day for few days to get results.

9. Indian Gooseberry

What all you need: Indian Gooseberry (also called ‘Amla’)


  1. You need to eat 1 amla daily
  1. Alternatively, you can also take 1/2 tsp dried amla powder and 1/2 glass of water daily

How it works: Amla is a time-tested remedy and recipe in reducing cavities. BTW, it also cleans the mouth and helps you to say goodbye to bad breath.

Tip: In case fresh amla (or its powdered form) is not available, you can consider taking a capsule (after consulting your doctor).

An amla a day is good for hair and digestion too.


10. Lemon

What all you need: One lemon (small to mid-sized)


  1. Chew on a slice of lemon for few minutes
  1. Then thoroughly rinse your mouth with water
  1. Keep doing this to relieve the pain from tooth decay.

How it works: The acids in lemon juice kill the bacteria and germs, thereby help ease out the cavity pain.

11. Nutmeg

What all you need: Nutmeg, Clove oil or Oregano oil


  1. Grate some nutmeg
  1. Add a bit of Clove oil or Oregano oil and apply it on the affected teeth
  1. Let the paste sit on the teeth for 10 minutes
  1. Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  1. Practice this remedy 3 to 4 times a day.

How it works: Nutmeg extract has anti-carcinogenic properties which help prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Tip: The other way of going about it is that you can directly apply nutmeg oil on your teeth using cotton swabs.

12. Onion

What all you need: Slice of onion


  1. Put a slice of onion on the infected tooth
  1. Also eat food items that have onion in it

How it works: Onion, when consumed regularly, reduces the problem of tooth cavities.

13. Cheese

What all you need: Raw Cheese


  1. Just eat cheese – on toast, rotis and other food items

How it works: It neutralizes the plaque acid in the mouth which in turn prevents tooth decay.

14. Mustard Oil

What all you need: Mustard Oil, Lemon juice


  1. Combine both the oils – mustard oil and lemon juice
  1. Then brush your teeth with this oil blend 2 to 3 times a day

How it works: Mustard oil is an antiseptic remedy which helps in healing tooth pain, and reducing cavity spread.

Tip: Do the mustard oil technique 10 to 15 times before brushing the teeth (with normal toothpaste)


15. Herbal Tea

What all you need: A cup of green tea


  1. Give your mouth a 5-minute rinse with green tea. That’s it!

How it works: Green tea is not just for weight loss, but also for dental care. It controls bacteria and lowers your saliva’s acidity and dental plaque, and is a useful tool in preventing cavities.

16. Activated Charcoal

What all you need: Activated charcoal (in powder form or a charcoal capsule), Toothbrush


  1. Wet your toothbrush
  1. If using a capsule, then drop the contents of charcoal capsule on a toothbrush
  1. If using a powdered form, then sprinkle the activated charcoal on the toothbrush
  1. Use caution while putting the brush in your mouth as charcoal stains are visible.
  1. Brush for 2 minutes
  1. Then spit, and wash your mouth with water.
  1. Practice this remedy 1 to 2 times a week.

How it works: Activated charcoal is not only used for whitening of teeth, but also getting rid of toxins from your mouth to heal cavities.

Tip: In the beginning, use of charcoal powder might look black on the teeth, but this is temporary. Worry not, it will not stain your teeth, but whiten it in addition to pulling out the toxins from your mouth.

17. Aloe Vera

What all you need: 1/4 cup juice of aloe vera


  1. Brushed your teeth? Do a mouth gargle with aloe vera juice
  1. Then rinse your mouth with water to remove the taste of the aloe juice

How it works: Aloe Vera has “anthraquinones” which control the tooth decay-causing bacteria.

Tip: Not feeling comfy swishing your mouth with aloe vera gel? Then, use aloe vera gel as a toothpaste.


18. Warm Water

What all you need: Warm water, pinch of salt


  1. Gargle or rinse your mouth with warm water containing salt once a day

Tip: You can also use warm water while brushing your teeth. This remedy helps reduce tooth pain from cavities.

19. Mint Leaves

What all you need: 6 to 8 mint leaves, 2 cups water


  1. Boil mint leaves in water
  1. Then rinse your mouth with this minty tonic

How it works: Treat your cavities with this peppy recipe of mint leaves.

Tip: The other option is you can drink tea prepared with mint leaves to fight cavities.

20. Margosa Leaves

What all you need: Neem twig


  1. Chew on neem leaves for some time
  1. Then rinse your mouth with water

How it works: Chewing neem twig (or neem datum) makes your teeth and gums stronger, thanks to the powerful plant oils which are released in the mouth.

Tip: Munch on margosa leaves daily to keep your mouth fresh and teeth clean.

21. Cranberry Juice

What all you need: Cranberry Juice


  1. Choose 100% cranberry juice (preferably the one with no added sugars, flavors or colors).

How it works: Drinking of cranberry juice (regularly) helps improve oral hygiene. It also helps in fighting cavities.

Tip: Add 100% apple juice if you feel like cutting the bitter taste of cranberry juice.


22. Coconut Oil

What all you need: 2 tsp Coconut oil, 1-2 drops clove oil (optional), 1-2 drops tea tree oil (optional)


  1. Put coconut oil in your mouth
  1. Swish the oil inside your mouth, then pull it back and forth inside your mouth for 20 minutes (the idea is to make it reach all corners of your mouth, teeth and gums).
  1. Now spit out the oil. You have just finished ‘Oil Pulling’.

How it works: Oil Pulling done via coconut oil and optional oils not only heals cavities, it can also cure gingivitis and systemic diseases like diabetes! Coconut oil has tremendous anti-bacterial properties.

Tip: Apart from doing oil pulling, you can also consume coconut oil.

23. Tea Tree Oil

What all you need: Tea tree oil (few drops) and warm water


  1. Massage your teeth and gums with tea tree oil.
  1. Then rinse them with warm water

How it works: Tea tree oil helps in keeping the mouth healthy, strong gums, and teeth decay-free.

Tip: Repeat this remedy twice a day.

24. Oregano Oil

What all you need: 1 tsp oregano oil, 1 tbsp water, pinch of salt, and a toothbrush


  1. Mix the ingredients together
  1. Dip your toothbrush in this mixture-cum-paste
  1. Now brush your teeth with it

How it works: Oregano Oil is a good remedy for treating cavities as it kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and plaque.

Tip: Brush your teeth once a day (minimum) with this mixture to keep them healthy.


25. Eucalyptus Oil

What all you need: 1-2 drops of Eucalyptus Oil, toothpaste and toothbrush


  1. The trick is – brush your teeth by adding eucalyptus oil to your toothpaste.
  1. Do it every day until the cavity heals.

How it works: Eucalyptus Oil slows down the growth of oral bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay and cavities.

26. Baking Soda

What all you need: Baking soda and toothbrush


  1. Wet the toothbrush first
  1. Then dip it in baking soda powder
  1. Brush your teeth with this

How it works: Owing to its alkalinity, baking soda neutralizes the excess of acids in the mouth which cause tooth decay and cavities.

Tip: Do the baking soda remedy after every alternate day for the first few days.

27. Bentonite Clay

What all you need: 1 1/2 tablespoons bentonite clay, 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, and few drops of essential oil (it could be tea tree, peppermint, rosemary, or clove)


  1. Combine all the ingredients together
  1. Use the mixture you get in the form of toothpaste
  1. Now brush your teeth twice daily with this toothpaste

How it works: Bentonite Clay absorbs all the impurities, which is what it does when used as a toothpaste. It removes the sticky deposits (and bacteria) from the infected tooth.


28. Fluoride Mouthwash

What all you need: Fluoride mouthwash


  1. After you have brushed your teeth, do a gargle with a mouthwash that has fluoride.

How it works: Fluoride mouthwash is not just good for the teeth, it helps to remineralize them. Overall, it is an effective home remedy for tooth decay and cavities.

Tip: Do fluoride mouthwash every morning and before going to bed.

29. Mixture Of Calcium And Magnesium Powders

What all you need: Calcium and Magnesium tablets, and a toothbrush


  1. Grind equal qty. of calcium and magnesium tablets so that you get a fine powder
  1. Brush your teeth using this powder.

How it works: Both the minerals – calcium and magnesium help in remineralizing your teeth. Second thing is that they keep your mouth “alkaline”, preventing the acid attack from the cavity from ending up affecting your teeth.

Tip: Repeat this remedy once a day to get best results.

30. Butter Oil And Cod Liver Oil

What all you need: Supplements of Cod liver oil and Butter oil

Directions: All you need to do is take a capsule of each (meaning butter oil and cod liver oil) after any meal during the day.

How it works:

  1. Did you know – Cod liver oil and butter oil are rich in vitamins A, D, and K, are superb for maintaining dental hygiene?

Tip: To maintain optimum dental health, take these supplements daily.

31. Bone Broth

What all you need: Animal Bones (those of poultry, lamb, beef, and/or bison), Salt, Black pepper powder


  1. Start the preparation by boiling animal bones in water until you get thick broth
  1. Now add salt and black pepper powder to the broth
  1. The soup is now ready.
  1. Drink the soup while it is warm. Point is to include the bone broth in your regular diet.

How it works: Being a rich source of calcium and magnesium, the bone broth helps to remove cavities and fight tooth decay.

Tip: Know something – you can even store the broth in the freezer for a few days and use it in other meal preparations.

32. Vegetable Oil

What all you need: A small cup, vegetable oil


  1. Fill a small cup with vegetable oil.
  1. Rinse your mouth with the oil for 5-10 minutes.
  1. Thereafter, spit it out.
  1. Do it 1 to 2 times every day.

How it works: Ever heard of “oil pulling”? You have just read about this technique. Well, vegetable oil is a good remedy in removing tooth infection and relieving pain.

Tip: Even coconut oil or olive oil can be used in place of vegetable oil.


33. Alcohol Compress

What all you need: Gin, vodka, whiskey and washcloth


  1. Take equal quantities of gin, vodka, and whiskey.
  1. Dip a washcloth in the solution.
  1. Now use it as a compress against the teeth affected by cavity.
  1. Keep the washcloth on for 4 to 5 minutes.
  1. Repeat this once daily.

How it works: The alcoholic content will relieve the pain. Plus, also kill the bacteria causing the tooth decay.

Tip: The alcoholic mixture may sting the first time. But the sensation subsides after a while.

34. Vanilla Essence

What all you need: Vanilla Essence (or its extract), cotton swab


  1. Put the cotton swab in vanilla essence
  1. Now apply it on the affected tooth (and on the surrounding gums)
  1. Let it stay for a while.

How it works: Vanilla essence is antiseptic in nature. So it is a remedy that works against cavities, mainly toothache.

Tip: Repeat this remedy 2 to 3 times.


35. Vanilla And Almond Extracts

What all you need: Few drops of vanilla and almond extract


  1. Mix the two extracts.
  1. Then apply the mixture on the cavities.

How it works: Those who practice alternative medicine recommend using vanilla and almond extract for healing of tooth decay.

Tip: Repeat the application of vanilla and almond extract on your cavities twice or thrice daily.

36. Black Walnut Tincture

What all you need: 4 to 5 drops of Black Walnut Tincture, 1/4 to 1/2 cup Water


  1. Drop walnut tincture into the water
  1. Swish it around in your mouth
  1. Then spit the water out (or swallow it)
  1. Do it 2-3 times in a week (to start with). Then after a week or two do it 4-5 times a month.

How it works: Black walnut tincture is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic. So it kills the micro-organisms in the mouth efficiently.


37. Eggshells

What all you need: 1/4 cup ground eggshells, 2 to 3 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp baking soda


  1. First of all, clean the eggshells.
  1. Boil them for few minutes. Remove from flame and then air-dry.
  1. Grind the dried eggshells into a fine powder.
  1. Now add baking soda and coconut oil to dried eggshells to get a smooth paste
  1. Use this concoction as toothpaste, everyday.

How it works: Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate, which play the role of an abrasive, removing tooth decay. Eggshells also remineralize the tooth enamel and the dentine of the damaged tooth.

38. Hydrogen Peroxide

What all you need: 1 oz. 3% hydrogen peroxide, water


  1. After brushing your teeth, swish hydrogen peroxide solution in your mouth for 5 to 7 seconds.
  1. Spit the solution out and do mouth-rinse with water
  1. Do it once a day, before going to sleep

How it works: Hydrogen Peroxide is an anti-microbial agent which kills the bacteria in mouth and treats the cavity.

Tip: Never keep the hydrogen peroxide in your mouth for longer time as it can irritate the skin of your mouth. Also give a short-term gap of few months before repeating its usage.

39. Proper Oral Care


  1. Brush your teeth twice a day
  1. Gargle your mouth with water after every meal
  1. Massage your teeth with clove oil frequently in a week.

Are there any other precautions that can be taken to prevent cavities?

Read below:


  • Remove Sugar
  • Have enough minerals
  • Eliminate Phytic Acid
  • Consume Raw Dairy and Nutrient-Rich Foods.
  • Vitamin D from Sunlight, Foods and Supplements
  • Include onions in your salad (if you are an onion eater).
  • Eat foods which are rich in the following vitamins – A, D, E and K, and also those that have enough of key minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium.
  • High fiber foods (cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, radish, cucumber, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.) are an asset to the diet. They not only step up saliva production in your mouth, they also protect your teeth.
  • Reduce Flour intake

Recipe of Homemade Remineralizing Tooth Paste:

What all you need: 2 tbsp baking soda, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 15-20 drops of essential oil (either peppermint or clove), 1 tbsp xylitol (or 1/8 tsp stevia), 15-20 drops of calcium powder or magnesium.


  1. Mix all the mentioned ingredients together
  1. Make a paste out of it
  1. Then apply this paste on your teeth daily

How it works: This toothpaste is made with homemade ingredients so it works out to be a good remedy for tooth decay.


Prevention Tips

Here are some:

  • Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash (if you have to kill bacteria, remove plaque and prevent gum disease)
  • After every snack or drink you take, or even after your meals, do rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Reduce the consumption of fruit juice. It is rich in sugar, that’s why.
  • Try and avoid food items and drinks that have refined sugar. But why? Because they can create plaque.
  • To cut down and reduce plaque formation and build-up, and reduce the growth of bacteria in your mouth, DRINK GREEN AND BLACK TEA.
  • Each time you drink an acidic beverage, do brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water.
  • Keep drinking water throughout the day. It not only clears away bacteria, it is very important for saliva production.
  • Chewing gum is important as it boosts saliva production in the mouth. This further keeps the mouth clean and healthy.
  • After brushing your teeth, use a mouthwash (with fluoride preferably) to get rid of bacteria and plaque.
  • Floss often to get rid of food particles and components that could possibly be hiding in your mouth
  • Go to a qualified dentist once a month to identify any possible loopholes in proper dental and oral hygiene.

When to Seek Medical Attention?

It is always advisable to take steps to avoid facing earlier stages of tooth decay. The sooner you plan out your dental visit, the better it is.

After Care Tips

  • Make changes in your diet. Adopt healthy not lifestyle foods.
  • Increase the intake of Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin

Do you have a question? Comment below.

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