Preventing tooth decay without going to a dentist

I’m not going to purpotrate any kind of lie here and claim this question applies to somebody else. (My friend was wondering…) I’m only 23 and my teeth are not in the best shape. I brush regularly. Yet they are somewhat crooked and slightly yellow in places. Some in the rear also have cavities. What is the best method to avoid future tooth loss that does not involve going to the dentist? And how does one make teeth white without spending large sums of money?

I’m no doctor or dentist, but if you say you alrerady have cavities and your teeth are yellow i suggest going to a dentist. If you don’t have insurance it may cost you more than you want to pay, but it’ll be cheaper now to get your teeth taken care of than to wait and have to pay for serious dental work.


(sorry, I kept thinking of old Crest commercials)

Thanks for the quick answer. I have insurance and some ability to go to the dentist. Eventually I will. My main question reguards whether there are actions I or any one else can take in my situation to avoid the dentist by:

brushing 10 times a day?
using alot of mouthwash?

Some sort of method of effecting change without going to the dentist.

The one most effective thing you can do is give up sugar. But most people don’t want to do that.


Curious Dude, why don’t you go to a dentist? Especially since you say you have insurance?

You say you have cavities - the longer you leave them alone the worse they’re going to get and the greater your risk of infection or abcess. Oral infections have been linked serious systemic infections, including those of the heart which can lead to various forms of damage and even early death. Why are you risking this?

Brushing 10 times a day is not going to fix your cavities.

Mouthwash is not going to fix your cavities.

Go to a dentist before you lose your teeth. That’s why we have dentists - to fix these problems.

The major cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Get your dentist to explain the mechanisms. My dentist routinely makes me sit through a lecture from one of his absolutely gorgeous assistants who explains it all and shows you how to brush and floss properly. He doesn’t seem to care that I have heard it all before, he just wheels one of the girls in and away she goes. I finally got the message.

When we’re young, **cavities ** are usually the biggest problem. Frequent brushing, minimizing sugar intake, and regular dentist visits will help ward off cavities.

As we get older, cavities usually become less of a problem. But at the same time, another problem becomes more serious as we age: gum disease. The best defense against gun disease is regular flossing (along with brushing and regular dentist visits).

Go to the dentist now while your insurance will cover it. Cavities will not get better on their own no matter what you you do, and they can contribute to decay in the teeth next to them. Partly because of financial reasons and partly because of stark unreasoning fear I let my teeth go for much too long a time. I ended up losing teeth and having to have a lot of crowns. Most insurance policies will only cover a limited amount for crowns a year, so a lot of that came out-of-pocket. Don’t wait until the teeth can’t be saved.

If you don’t have particulary good teeth to begin with, no amount of brushing and flossing is really going to help, and if you already have problems, it sure isn’t going to reverse it.

I have congenitally bad teeth. As in, I religiously floss every damn day, and brush at least twice daily, yet I just got done getting my sixth crown about a month ago. I don’t eat an abnormal amount of sugar, or anything else that would dispose me to undue tooth decay, yet my teeth go crazy and I get lots of deep decay.

Paradoxically, I have about the best gums the Baylor School of Dentistry has ever seen. Not a trace of gum disease!

Echoing the idea of getting current problems fixed, but also wanted to mention that my dentist does recommend using ACT fluoride rinse at night to treat the currently-OK teeth. Rinse it over teeth and leave it on for sleeping (no water rinse). Again, this is no substitute for fixing existing problems.

I think what is being asked is: Is there any way to avoid going to the dentist? I personally go to the dentist every 6 months and one of the great things about modern medicine is the preventive aspect of problems.

What can one do to avoid going to the dentist at all? Are there any home remedies for problems that a dentist usually fixes? Will brushing ten times a day help or hurt?

A side question: At my work there is mouthwash in the bathroom. If I use it every time I walk in there to wash my hands or whatever (let’s say ten times a day) will it help me or hurt me?

It’s technically theoretically possible to reverse very small cavities by rebuilding the calcium in the teeth. This is done by eating a diet rich in calcium and magnesium (magnesium is important for calcium absorption) and the use of topical calcium, either Recaldent, made from cassein and found in Trident chewing gum and some toothpastes, or professional recalcification products available through…a dentist.

That said, if you know you have cavities, they’re probably too large to recalcify and heal yourself. Recalcification is for weakened enamel and very, very tiny “is it a cavity yet or not?” cavities.

You’re essentially asking “how can I repair this rusted out bumper without any sandpaper, bondo, welding or paint?” You can’t. You can brush the bumper with a wire brush 10 times a day, which will loosen some of the rust, but it won’t repair the damage. You have damage, it must be fixed. Like rust, cavities spread - within a tooth and to surrounding teeth. You need to see a dentist to stop the spread of those cavities, and you’ll be a lot happier (and leave a lot more money in your pocket) if you do it sooner rather than later.

Slight hijack - I was once told that I should switch over to non-alcohol based mouthwash instead of the alcohol based ones. The reason I was told is that the alcohol based ones create ideal conditions for bacteria to grow - yes the alcohol kills 99% of the existing bacteria but creates more ideal situations for the remaining bacteria to grow. Apparently the alcohol causes the mouth to be drier which is more favorable for bacteria to grow. At least that’s what I was told. Is there any truth to this?

I did switch over, though it was more for taste reasons then the reason mentioned above.

That’s because you floss. If you floss regularly, the chance of getting gum disease is very small.

Cite? I’d really like to see proof of this assertion that giving up sugar makes some substantial difference in the health of your teeth.

First, go to the dentist.

I’ve got terrible teeth also, but I’ve turned them around. First, get an electric toothbrush. Even, then, you’ll be amazed at the crap still in your teeth even after you brush. I use a rubber tip to massage my gums, and also to get some of the larger crap out. Then I floss, dipping the floss in mouthwash to get the mouthwash between the teeth better. Then I have a plastic syringe I got from my dentist which I use to squirt mouthwash in the worst places. Then I gargle with the rest of the mouthwash.

This may not prevent cavities, but it will certainly help.

Teeth: ignore them and they’ll go away.

Please go to the dentist. There is no way to avoid it, except by not going. There is nothing you can do to stop decaying teeth from continuing to decay, despite your best efforts. That’s why I have four of my original teeth left. The remaining ones that weren’t extracted because they could not be saved are crowns. I’ve had $7,000 of work done over the last year. I was there today. I have to go back for root canal on one of the remaining real ones. Then root canal for the nerves inside a couple of the crowns. Would you like to go through that? Me neither. Too late now. I repeat: please go to the dentist.

I’m historically panicky around dentists, but don’t have any major teeth issues, just bad childhood experiences. On my last trip to a dentist (first time in three years) she was explaining to me that the acidity of my saliva prevents cavity problems, but predisposes me towards gum disease. Was it a load of bull to sell me some prescription mouthwash, or is there some truth to this? Does our saliva lean us either toward tooth decay or gum disease, inversely?

Go to the dentist. Get your cavities taken care of. Your dentist will no doubt have plenty of good info for you, but here’s what my dentist told me:

  • Cut down on sugar. Sodas, juices, candy, etc. Switch to diet drinks if you must.
  • Brush after every meal.
  • Floss! Get one of those neat little sticks that you can snap a flossing extention onto (my dentist gave me one). A lot easier than flossing by hand.
  • Floss every night before going to bed, so bacteria won’t have time to grow while you’re asleep.
  • Use mouthwash that fights gingivitis.
  • Get your teeth checked every 6 months (a year maximum). While you’re at it, get your eyes checked every year, too!