What is the difference between cavities and tooth decay?
First let’s make sure we know what is meant by tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay
refers to a destructive process that results in the normally hard material of our teeth,
enamel on the tooth surface and dentin underneath it, becoming soft and rotten. In its
early stage, tooth decay is usually localized to only a small part of a tooth. Eventually it
involves a large enough part of the tooth to cause that part of the tooth to collapse or
break down. The resulting defect is known as a cavity by patients. Technically
speaking, it is called a carious lesion by dentists. For simplicity sake, and because
most people make no distinction, we will use the words tooth decay and cavity to mean
one and the same thing.
The statements and information on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The body's ability and power to heal depends
upon the totality of diet, nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors. No claims for the cure of any disease is
intended, or implied. Always consult a health care practitioner when dealing with disease states.
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What are the causes of tooth decay?
If you ask a dentist how you get tooth decay or cavities in your teeth, the answer
will often depend on how the dentist perceives illness. If the dentist says, as most
traditional dentists do, that tooth decay is caused by specific decay causing germs in our
mouth that feed on sugar loaded food and drinks, the dentist is also implying that outside
forces cause cavities. On the other hand, if you ask a holistic or biological dentist (both
names have the same meaning here), how we get cavities, you will likely be told an
entirely different story -- that the life style we choose and create, especially as it refers to
what gets into our body intentionally or otherwise, is the determining cause of cavities
because of the way it effects our immune system. Incidentally, asking your dentist what
causes tooth decay is a good way to find out what you dentist believes, and how
holistically focused your dentist really is.
The traditional model of tooth decay:
It is very important to understand the difference between the two distinctly different
models that are seen as being the cause of tooth decay. The traditional model
assumes that tooth decay is the result of external forces. This model likewise
assumes that tooth decay is also prevented by outside forces, such as brushing and
flossing, dental sealants, or externally applied drugs like fluoride in tooth paste or
fluoride put on your teeth by a dental hygienist.
According to the traditional view, tooth decay is essentially a unique type of infection.
There are three required outside forces or conditions causing tooth decay which must all
be present together. The first is a particular species of bacteria called Streptococcus
mutans. The second is plaque, which is a soft, gooey substance of bacteria and other
microorganisms clumped together in a gel-like material that sticks to the teeth. And the
third is sugary, carbohydrate loaded foods and drinks.
This is how most dentists say we get cavities. The plaque on our teeth shelters
Streptococcus mutans bacteria and other germs. The Streptococcus mutans already in
the plaque in our mouths feed on the sugary, high carbohydrate foods sticking to our
teeth, producing acids by fermentation of the sugar and carbohydrates. Highly sugared
drinks, like soda, and energy drinks do the same thing if they are consumed frequently,
either with meals or between meals. The acids then dissolve the outside enamel layer of
This creates a weakened enamel tooth surface that eventually breaks down, forming a
small initial cavity. Your tooth has started to decay. The process slowly continues, allowing
bacteria and other germs in the plaque to penetrate through the tooth enamel to the inner
layer of our teeth, called dentin. The dentin then becomes infected with large numbers of
bacteria and other microorganisms, which results in the destruction of the dentin. The
small beginning cavity now becomes a big, sensitive or painful, infected, decaying, rotting
hole in the tooth. By this time the infection has usually spread into the nerve inside the
root of the tooth, and it will eventually reach the bone around and beyond the end of the
tooth root. Ouch! The traditional treatment for an abscessed tooth like this is a root canal
or extraction of the tooth.
The unique connection of carbonated soda drinks and tooth decay:
Carbonated soda drinks create a double whammy on your teeth. This is because,
in addition to all the sugar in them, they also contain very acidic ingredients, like
phosphoric acid in sodas, and citric acid in citrus flavored drinks. The carbonation water is
itself mildly acidic. All this extra acid makes the acid concentration on your teeth even
greater than what you normally get from the sugar fermented by bacteria. The result is
that your teeth may decay and develop cavities even faster. Are these drinks worth the
double risks of tooth decay and diabetes?
While everything in the traditional model of tooth decay can be scientifically proven, it
places all the responsibility for the decay or cavities on the external forces. It says that we
play no part in the process of tooth decay, or even worse, that we have little direct control
over it. The consequence of this model is the incorrect assumption that cavities are
inevitable if the external conditions causing them are a part of your life.
The holistic or biological model of tooth decay or cavities:
Fortunately, cavities are not inevitable. The holistic or biological model of tooth
decay asserts that you are entirely responsible for the cavities you get in your
teeth, and most importantly, you have complete control of either causing or
preventing tooth decay. Your susceptibility to tooth decay and cavities is a direct
reflection of what you put in your body, what you eat and drink, and the quality of these
foods, because your entire body, including your immune system, is made directly from the
foods you consume. What goes into your body also includes avoiding addictive drugs like
methamphetamine, which makes teeth very susceptible to decay by playing havoc with the
immune system. Whether or not you get cavities and tooth decay is entirely an internal
process you can control.
How do you prevent cavities?
From a holistic perspective, if you are willing to follow a healthy life style by consuming the
right kinds of foods and drinks, including fruits and vegetables and other foods that are
organic, whole grain, unprocessed or raw, and contain no added sugars, chemicals or
synthetic ingredients of any kind, if you exercise regularly, and if you avoid drugs and
environmental toxins, you will bring about two critically important changes to make you
healthier. First, you will create an internal, slightly alkaline, health promoting
environment in your body. Second, you will make your immune system very
strong - so strong that no disease causing organism can survive in it for long.
You won’t get cavities or tooth decay because Streptococcus mutans bacteria cannot live
very well in this setting. In truth, you wouldn’t need dentists or fluoride under these ideal
circumstances. Although I am not suggesting or recommending it, even brushing and
flossing wouldn’t be needed. Of course, then your breath wouldn’t smell very nice.
On the other hand, if you drink a lot of heavily sugared beverages, eat mostly highly
processed, chemical laden, sugar rich foods lacking whole grains and fiber, and if you
don’t exercise and avoid toxins or drugs, then you will create an acidic internal
environment that disease provoking germs can thrive in. Then you get cavities and
Why do you need supplements?
Since most people will rarely meet all of the conditions required for good dental health,
what is the best way make sure you don’t get cavities and tooth decay? The answer is
simple. Consume the right kinds of foods and drinks when you can, exercise and avoid
toxins as much as possible, brush and floss your teeth so you remove plaque, which
means your breath remains sweet, and compensate for whatever elements of a
healthy lifestyle are lacking, by adding organic and all natural whole food
supplements to your diet.
Click here to learn more about the amazing benefits of all natural and organic
whole food supplements.
How will organic and all natural whole food supplements accomplish this?
The answer lies in the fact that a well fed body is able to resist disease better
than a poorly fed body. The human body is a marvelously designed living organism with
the ability to grow, regulate, repair, and defend itself when given natural, high quality, full
spectrum nutrients derived from natural and organically grown foods. Supplements made
from these foods uniquely improve your body’s physical, mental, and emotional well-
being, just like what might happen if you only ate all natural and organically grown foods.
So, by adding all natural, organic, whole food supplements to your diet, you markedly
enhance the health of your entire body, including, naturally, your whole mouth.
Whatever health benefits you are seeking, you are invited to try these supplements and
see for yourself how they can elevate you to a new level of confidence regarding the
health of your mouth and the rest of your body. That means greater peace of mind for
you. How much is that worth?
Click here for Dr. Gilbert’s free, no obligation nutritional consultation.
The purpose of this page is to answer questions
about tooth decay and cavities.
Causes of Tooth Decay
Healthy Teeth 'n' Gums
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