Can You Remineralize a Cavity? A Dentist Explains

While tooth decay can be stopped or reversed through remineralization, true cavities cannot be remineralized and must be treated by a professional.

While some individuals suggest that cavities can be remineralized, the truth is that the "cavities" they are referring to are likely just initial stages of tooth decay and not true cavities. Ultimately, the decision to fix a cavity with a filling changes from dentist to dentist.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take at home to remineralize tooth decay and prevent it from forming, including:

In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about the remineralization process and how to handle cavities.

What are cavities?

a person holding a model of teeth

Cavities, also known as dental caries, are common dental problems characterized by structural damage to the teeth. In fact, the World Health Organization reports they're the most common disease in the world!

Cavities form due to a complex interplay of different factors within your oral microbiome. You see, we all have harmful bacteria naturally present in our mouths that form a sticky film called "dental plaque" on our teeth. When we consume sugary foods or acidic fruits, for example, the bacteria feed on the sugars and then produce acid as a byproduct.

Then, the acid produced attacks our enamel, initiating a process that we call demineralization. Over time, demineralization leads to the initial stage of cavity formation which can result in the development of small openings in our enamel. The openings get progressively larger and eventually penetrate deeper into the tooth, causing symptoms like sensitivity and discomfort.

To reverse tooth decay, we use tools like nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste to stimulate a process called remineralization (aka the opposite of demineralization).

What are demineralization and remineralization?

A tooth cartoon

Your mouth is almost like a battery: batteries are always recharging or discharging, and they never stay at the same level. In the same way, your mouth is always remineralizing teeth or demineralizing, and the status depends on the acidity of your oral microbiome.

Let's walk through the differences in these two processes!

Demineralization Process

Demineralization is the process in which acids, often produced by the bad bacteria in our mouths, remove essential minerals like calcium and phosphate from our teeth. Through this process, our enamel surface gets weakened, and this eventually leads to tooth decay.

Without intervention, demineralization and dental decay can then progress to full blown dental caries (also known as cavities).

Preventing demineralization and promoting tooth remineralization are essential for protecting your teeth and promoting good oral health. The most populars tools for preventing demineralization include nano hydroxyapatite or fluoride toothpaste.

Remineralization Process

Remineralization is a natural tooth repair process that occurs daily inside the mouth.

It involves the repair of lost enamel through the deposition of calcium and phosphate minerals from saliva into the enamel, helping to keep teeth strong and prevent tooth decay.

This process is essential for maintaining the integrity of the teeth and is a continuous, natural repair mechanism to restore minerals to the tooth enamel.

What causes demineralization?

A person having tooth ache

Tooth demineralization is primarily caused by the interaction of acids with tooth enamel. These can be dietary acids or simply acids produced by the bad bacteria in our mouths. Let's walk through some of the main causes of demineralization.

Bad Bacteria & Plaque

Dental plaque is a thin, sticky film that naturally forms on our teeth. It consists of bacteria colonies that feed on sugars and carbohydrates from the foods we consume.

As they metabolize these sugars, they produce acids as byproducts. These acids can gradually erode the minerals, primarily calcium and phosphate, from our teeth which leads to demineralization.

Regular brushing and flossing help remove dental plaque, reducing the presence of acid-producing bacteria and their harmful effects on enamel.

Dietary Acids

Consuming acidic foods and beverages can directly introduce acids into our mouths, disrupting our oral pH.

For example, citrus fruits, carbonated sodas, and fruit juices are naturally acidic. When these acidic substances come into contact with tooth enamel, they can weaken the enamel's mineral structure, making it more susceptible to demineralization.

Limiting the intake of acidic foods and practicing good oral hygiene can help mitigate the impact of these dietary acids on teeth.

Poor Oral Hygiene

A woman brushing her teeth

Inadequate oral hygiene practices, such as not brushing and flossing enough, can lead to dental plaque accumulating on tooth surfaces.

When plaque is not regularly removed, it provides a breeding ground for acid-producing bacteria. These bacteria thrive in the plaque and continuously generate acids as they metabolize sugars.

The prolonged exposure of teeth to these acids can result in demineralization, making your daily oral care routine essential for preventing enamel damage.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is known for its ability to neutralize acids and support the remineralization of enamel. It's an essential component of your oral microbiome.

However, conditions that reduce salivary flow, such as certain medications, medical conditions, or dehydration, can leave the mouth dry. In a dry mouth environment, acids are not effectively neutralized, and the protective effects of saliva are compromised.

This can lead to an increased risk of enamel demineralization and tooth decay, making it essential for individuals with dry mouth to manage this condition effectively.

To combat dry mouth, certain toothpastes and chewing gums contain xylitol, a compound that has been proven to promote saliva production and normalize oral pH.

Acid Reflux

A lady experiencing acid reflux

Conditions like acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD) or frequent vomiting expose teeth to stomach acids, which are highly acidic and corrosive.

When these strong acids come into contact with tooth enamel, they can rapidly erode the minerals from the enamel surface, leading to demineralization.

Individuals with these conditions are at an elevated risk of enamel damage, and managing acid reflux or vomiting episodes is crucial to protect dental health.

What causes remineralization?

A person showing her white teeth

Remineralization is caused by your saliva or toothpaste depositing essential minerals like calcium and phosphate back into the tooth enamel. This process strengthens our teeth and protects against decay.

In this section, we'll walk through some of the main drivers of how you can remineralize teeth regularly.

Your Saliva Production

Saliva plays a vital role in remineralization by:

  • maintaining a balanced pH in your mouth

  • neutralizing acidic conditions that promote demineralization

  • and providing essential minerals like calcium and phosphate

It also contains antimicrobial properties that control harmful bacteria, reducing acid production and contributing to a healthier oral environment.

Essentially, saliva forms a protective coating over your teeth, acting as a barrier against external factors and providing lubrication to help maintain enamel integrity.

Additionally, increased salivary flow during activities like chewing stimulates remineralization by delivering minerals to tooth surfaces and rinsing away acids and debris.

Nano Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

NOBS Toothpaste Tablets

A synthetic form of a mineral naturally found in teeth and bones, nano hydroxyapatite supports healthy teeth by promoting remineralization. When used in toothpaste, studies show nHA particles can bond with tooth enamel, effectively filling in micro-sized surface defects and strengthening the enamel structure.

This helps repair early enamel lesions and minor surface imperfections, making our enamel more resilient to acid attacks and reducing the risk of tooth decay.

By brushing with nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste daily, you can remineralize your teeth and prevent damage.


Research suggests xylitol supports healthy teeth by reducing the growth of harmful oral bacteria. Xylitol disrupts the bacteria's ability to metabolize sugars, leading to a decrease in acid production.

This reduction in acidic conditions helps create a healthier oral environment, supporting remineralization and reducing the risk of tooth decay. Xylitol-containing products, such as gum and toothpaste, can be especially beneficial for individuals prone to cavities.

Limiting Acidic Foods in Your Diet

Acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, carbonated sodas, and certain sauces, can weaken tooth enamel and contribute to enamel erosion over time.

Limiting your consumption of acidic foods helps reduce the risk of acid-related enamel damage.

If you do consume acidic items, consider rinsing your mouth with water afterward or using an alkaline mouthwash to help neutralize acids and minimize their effects on your teeth.

How Nano Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste Promotes Remineralization

A woman brushing her teeth

Nano hydroxyapatite (nHA) promotes remineralization by closely mimicking the natural hydroxyapatite present in our teeth.

Because it has a small particle size, nano hydroxyapatite is able to penetrate enamel effectively, bond with the tooth's surface, and fill in microscopic defects and pores in the enamel. This filling action makes our teeth smoother and reduces sensitivity.

Further, nano hydroxyapatite deposits calcium and phosphate ions back into the enamel, strengthening it and making it more resistant to acid. The process is what we call remineralization, and it reduces our risk of developing tooth decay.

Nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste is a safe and effective way to remineralize your teeth, and it is a better alternative to fluoride toothpaste.

The Bottom Line: Can you remineralize cavities?

1 Jar of NOBS Toothpaste Tablets

No, once a cavity has formed, you cannot remineralize it. Cavities are the result of structural damage to the enamel, due to the demineralization process caused by bacteria producing acids in the mouth.

Unfortunately, cavities create permanent holes in our enamel, and we cannot repair that naturally. Once a cavity has formed, you will need to see a dentist for a professional treatment such as dental fillings.

That said, to prevent the development of cavities in the first place and remineralize tooth decay, we can take measures such as:

So, in conclusion, while we cannot remineralize cavities, we do have the ability to prevent tooth decay from forming in the first place through a proper oral care routine and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to remineralize a cavity?

Unfortunately, once tooth decay has progressed to the cavity stage, it can no longer be reversed and must be treated by a dentist. For early stage tooth decay or enamel demineralization, remineralization can occur within a few weeks to a few months by using nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste daily and maintaining proper oral care practices.

Can you heal a cavity naturally?

No, once a cavity has formed, it cannot be healed or reversed naturally without dental intervention. Cavities result from structural damage to the tooth enamel caused by bacterial acids, creating permanent openings or holes. While preventive measures such as nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste and avoiding acidic foods can reduce your risk of new cavities, existing cavities require professional dental treatment, such as fillings, to repair the damage.

Can a forming cavity be reversed?

Yes, in some cases, a forming cavity, also known as early stage tooth decay or enamel demineralization, can be reversed or stopped through remineralization. Remineralization involves depositing essential minerals like calcium and phosphate back into your teeth by using nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste. However, the speed and success of remineralization depends on the extent of demineralization and damage to the tooth structure. Once a cavity has formed and penetrated your enamel, you will need to seek out professional treatment from a dentist.

Can you reverse a cavity with oil pulling?

No, you cannot reverse a cavity with oil pulling. In fact, once tooth decay has progressed to the cavity stage, it can no longer be reversed and must be treated by a dentist. For early stage tooth decay or enamel demineralization, remineralization can occur within a few weeks to a few months by using nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste daily and maintaining proper oral care practices.

Why do dentists hate oil pulling?

Dentists do not "hate" oil pulling, though they will approach it cautiously due to the limited scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness in preventing or reversing dental issues. For example, the idea that oil pulling can reverse a cavity is pseudoscience - oil contains no minerals that your enamel needs to repair itself, such as calcium or phosphate. That said, when used in conjunction with remineralizing toothpaste, oil pulling can be a natural alternative to modern methods of removing bacteria from hard-to-reach areas in the mouth.

NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets
NOBS Toothpaste Tablets

NOBS Toothpaste Tablets

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NOBS is everything toothpaste should be - all the good stuff, and none of the junk.

Fluoride Free
Never any fluoride, and no harsh abrasives.

We used the magical remineralizing power of 5% nano-hydroxyapatite to protect your teeth long-term. It's the safest alternative to fluoride!

Unlike messy tube toothpaste, NOBS are easy to store and use anywhere.

Thanks to our unique blend of natural ingredients, NOBS will make your breath as fresh as you look. Instead of gross sweeteners that cover up a natural slightly bitter aftertaste, our organic mint will leave you so kissable. Trust us, your date will thank you.

Cleans Effectively Without Damaging Enamel

With an enviable RDA of 21.38, NOBS Toothpaste Tablets are intentionally designed to help you gently buff out surface stains and break up plaque biofilm without causing damage to your enamel. Thanks, baking soda!

Flex on TSA

NOBS toothpaste tablets don’t apply to the 3.4oz limit. Fly with confidence that you won’t be condemned to a dirty mouth while you travel.

No Mess

Never worry about your toothpaste tube exploding over your other toiletries. NOBS toothpaste tablets come in an air-tight glass jar, free of plastic and without the mess. Unscrew, chew, and renew your mouth.

No Plastic

We want you to disrupt your brushing routine, not your endocrine system. Unlike other brands, our product is free of all plastics and BPAs.

Perfect Size

NOBS toothpaste tablets are individual and perfectly dosed. No more squeezing, no more tube sliding against the edge of your sink and definitely no wasted toothpaste.

Safe for Children

Protecting little ones is our top priority. NOBS provides the safest oral care for pregnant women and their families. Just monitor and ensure that your child can chew and swallow safely before introducing them to NOBS.

This product is not suitable for pets. Humans only, please!

While xylitol is great for supporting the human oral microbiome, it can be toxic to pets. Please keep NOBS away from your furry friends, and contact your veterinarian immediately if consumed by your pet.

Fluoride Free Toothpaste Tablets