teeth rotting
In the initial stages of decay, teeth can be saved through various diet choices and oral care routines. However, once decay progresses, rotting teeth can only be saved through dental procedures.

Often, a rotten tooth means damage has spread deep within the tooth structure. Certain modalities may help halt the process of tooth destruction and rotting, but once the rotting sets in, it cannot be reversed.

In the early stages of tooth rot (small cavity), a dentist may perform a fluoride treatment to strengthen or remineralize the tooth, which may halt the progression of the cavity. Along with the fluoride treatment, here are some recommendations that may save your tooth from further damage.

Common diet inclusions and exclusions

  • Consume more calcium-rich foods (kale, collards, broccoli rabe and dairy) that can help strengthen your bones and teeth.
  • Micronutrients are essential for bone health, and they keep inflammation under control to prevent or reverse cavities.
  • Certain vitamins help produce saliva that helps prevent bacteria from staying on your teeth, and certain vitamins make your teeth stronger.
    • Foods that help promote salivation include bananas, Brussels sprouts and peas.
  • Consume vitamins B and D, magnesium and iron.
  • Eat whole-grain foods and seafood.
    • Salmon, canned tuna and sardines are all great sources of vitamin D.
  • Probiotics stimulate the production of healthy bacteria in the mouth that may prevent plaque buildup and dental decay.
  • Avoid drinking pop, juice and drinks with high carbonate because sugars cause excessive plaque and tartar buildup that may result in cavities.
  • Drinks, such as coffee, create pH imbalances (such as some citrus fruits and sugars) and act as the perfect environment for harboring infectious oral bacteria.

Oral care routine

  • Brush your teeth at least two times a day and ensure you reach all the surfaces, crevices, pockets and corners.
  • Floss at least one time daily to help remove any remaining food from underneath your gums and prevent bacteria from forming plaque.
  • Use mouthwash since it has antibacterial properties and helps you get rid of any remaining bacteria in your mouth.
  • Oil pulling is believed to have moisturizing and antiseptic capabilities and creates soap-like cleansing on teeth.
    • It involves swishing oil (sesame, sunflower or coconut oil) for about 10 to 20 minutes in the mouth to reduce plaque buildup.
    • Oil pulling reduces plaque and gingivitis in one month.

Remember, if the cavity is large, the dentist’s intervention is unavoidable. However, you can limit the damage by following these simple steps and paying a little extra attention to your teeth.

How does remineralization save my teeth?

Remineralization introduces minerals, especially calcium, to the teeth. These minerals bind to the surface of the teeth and are drawn to weak points in the enamel. This is especially effective in cases of dental erosion. Weakened enamel can be restored to some degree by improving its mineral content.

Although toothpaste and mouthwash can never rebuild teeth, they can contribute to this remineralization process. Enamel’s chief ingredient is calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite). Products with high concentrations of calcium phosphate or fluoride help teeth remineralize naturally before damage exceeds the point of no return.

What are the 5 stages of rotting teeth?

There are five distinct stages of tooth decay. In stage I, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease in the initial stages.  Beyond that, the later stages are usually irreversible.

Stage I: White spots

  • The tooth begins to show signs of strain, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel.
  • These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth.
  • At this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth.

Stage II: Enamel decay

  • It marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked.
  • Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage.
  • Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and you may need to have the cavity corrected with a filling.

Stage III: Dentin decay

  • The cavity in your mouth may probably start to cause some pain.
  • At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of the tooth material that lies beneath the enamel—the dentin.
  • A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component—the pulp.

Stage IV: Involvement of the pulp

  • Stage IV is serious, and a root canal is the only treatment at this point, saving a complete extraction.

Stage V: Abscess formation

  • The infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure, which in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure.
  • Swelling and abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately.
  • The dentist would recommend a root canal or extraction at this stage.

Having rotten teeth can be embarrassing, but it is not something that you have to live with for the rest of your life. If your teeth start to decay, consult your dentist for the best treatment options.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/19/2021
References
The tooth decay process: how to reverse it and avoid a cavity: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay/more-info/tooth-decay-process#:

Saving your natural tooth: https://www.aae.org/patients/root-canal-treatment/saving-natural-tooth/