Cavity Reversal

Hi Dr. Ellie,

My almost 4 year old son, was at the dentist last week and we were told he has 4 cavities in his bottom molars. Our dentist wants to fill the two on the left side which she says are small. The two on the right side are even smaller and she does not want to fill them, saying that she thinks the cavities could reverse. I hadn’t heard of cavities healing and have been researching on the internet the past few days. I am wondering if you think all of the cavities could reverse given appropriate attention/treatment. We were very surprised to hear that he had any cavities, as he eats well, brushes and flosses.

The drop of fluoride rinse (ACT) that you recommend brushing on young children’s teeth, is that 0.05% sodium fluoride or is it diluted for a 4 year old child. Also, could we use this same system (combination of xylitol and ACT) for our 22 month old as well? Do you know if ACT is available in Canada? I haven’t been able to find it. Thank you.


Cavities can revers and the use of xylitol and fluoride together is the key.

You need to have your son nibble xylitol. Dumping a teaspoon on his cereal will not be so effective!

Research says you need 3-5 separate exposures to xylitol each day with a total amount each day close to one heaped teaspoon.

He can take this off a spoon, dissolved in water or as a quick dissolving mint or candy ( kids love the fruit mint Zellies they have no “mint flavor” they just have the soft texture of a breath mint). The best time is after EVERY drink, snack or meal….you just a little throughout the day EVERY day.

Also remember that cavities are the result of a contagious, transmissible infection. Think about your own teeth those of visiting relations day care situations etc.

Make sure his toothbrush is clean and store it safely so it can air dry away from sources of bacterial infection (other people’s toothbrushes or the toilet areas). You can get everyone on the xylitol/toothbrush cleaning program and eradicate the bacteria of cavities within a few months.

Your children can benefit from brushing their teeth with the ACT rinse in place of toothpaste.
When children are able to rinse and spit out well, you can consider using the ACT as a mouth rinse (normally about 6 years old). I often suggest practicing with water to ensure they do not drink mouth rinse. Just do not practice after you have brushed these teeth with the drop of ACT you will wash the benefits away!

You should probably allow a few months for remineralization to occur. Perhaps your dentist would be prepared to check these teeth again and determine if a filling is really needed…..please let me know the outcome. I am always very interested!


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Rochester, NY 14623

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