It is astonishing how one little tooth, a very small part of your body, can cause such pain and misery when a cavity develops. Cavities can quickly knock you off of your feet with tremendous pain and misery. Prevention is the best remedy for cavities, and with a few lifestyle changes you can reduce your chances of developing cavities. If you already have an aching cavity, there are a few remedies to ease pain and reduce tooth sensitivity until you can see your dentist.
Straws and Snacks
Acidic and sugar-laden beverages, such as sodas and fruit juices, can cause tremendous damage to teeth, leading to decay and cavities. David S. Halpern, D.M.D., suggests drinking with a straw to bypass exposure to teeth and direct fluid into the throat. Snacking throughout the day without brushing afterward can also promote tooth decay and cavities. Barry Dale, D.M.D., says that decay starts the second sugar enters your mouth. Prevent damage from snacks by brushing after all sugary treats. Halpern seconds brushing after snacks by stating that you would have less decay if you ate a pound of chocolate and immediately brushed, versus eating one small piece of chocolate before bed without brushing.
Cheese, Gum and Toothpicks
Topping off a meal with aged cheese can prevent tooth decay according to studies by Ralph Burgess, D.D.S. Burgess says the high levels of calcium and phosphates found in aged cheese create a protective barrier for tooth enamel. Acidic foods break down calcium and phosphate in your teeth, causing decay and cavities. Protect your teeth after meals by munching on cheddar for best results, but Burgess assures that other aged cheeses, such as unprocessed Gruyere, American, Gouda, Edam or provolone will work just as well. Halpern also suggests chewing sugar-free gum at for at least 20 minutes after meals to prevent cavities. Sugar-free chewing gum is made with xylitol, which prevents the build up of cavity-causing micro-organisms in the mouth. The chewing motion also stimulates the flow of saliva, which flushes food debris. Halpern states that toothpicks are quick fix to remove lodged food before bacteria has a chance to develop and promote decay. Use a toothpick after meals to carefully remove any food left between teeth and prevent opportunities for cavities to develop.
If you have lost a filling or have a cavity that has flared, you may experience pain when drinking or eating cold or hot beverages and food. Wistar Paist, D.M.D., suggests using the wax from a birthday candle to temporarily replace a lost filling or to cover a cavity until you can see your dentist. Break a small piece of wax from the candle, rub between fingers to warm and gently push on the tooth until the wax molds to the tooth. Paist states that any soft, moldable material will work but to avoid using chewing gum which may cause further pain and irritation.
Heat may relieve cavity pain. Make your own heat compress by filling a bottle with warm water, wrapping it in a towel and placing against the jaw or area of pain. To soothe aching and throbbing associated with cavities, try taking over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. See your dentist immediately if you experience intense pain due to a cavity to prevent the onset of infection which can lead to an abscessed tooth.