Your smile is an important part of who you are. Aside from the psychological effects smiling can have on you, your smile can affect others, especially when making a first impression.
A healthy, beautiful smile depends in large part on your oral health. If you struggle with tooth enamel issues or tooth decay, there are ways of getting help and strengthening your smile.
Understanding Tooth Remineralization
Several minerals, including phosphate and calcium, help create tooth enamel, along with dentin and bones. These minerals can also prevent dental caries and cavities.
With age, you can experience a loss in the minerals that support your teeth. It can occur because of regular consumption of acidic or sugary foods or because you have an accumulation of bacteria in your mouth.
It's important to understand that once your enamel or bone breaks down completely, the only way to resolve the problem is to replace the tooth.
To prevent this outcome, you can replenish the missing minerals with a process called remineralization. Remineralization occurs when minerals like calcium bond to the teeth and fill in weakened areas of the enamel.
There are lifestyle changes and even home remedies that can help remineralize your teeth naturally. For example, if you regularly eat acidic fruits, you can reduce your consumption of them. With changes like this, you may be able to stop tooth demineralization altogether.
8 Tips for Tooth Remineralization
Before tooth decay becomes irreversible, you can follow these 8 tips to help with remineralization.
1. Brush Your Teeth
One of the most effective ways of removing bacteria from your mouth is brushing your teeth after every meal. Bacteria accumulate if you do not brush appropriately, which may lead to cavities.
Cavities, also called dental caries, mainly occur from the accumulation of a particular bacterium called the streptococcus mutans, Strep mutans derive energy from simple carbohydryates, especially sugar.
To remove the largest amount of bacteria, you want to brush correctly and with the right tools. Choose a brush with soft bristles and consider opting for an electric one that can offer the exact teeth brushing intensity you need.
2. Cut Out Sugar
Sugar is one of the most harmful substances to your oral health. Sugar, which is a carbohydrate, feeds the bacteria in your mouth. Sugar and acids work together to break down your tooth enamel.
Sugary foods combine with saliva and bacteria, leading to plaque buildup on your teeth. If the plaque remains on your teeth, it can dissolve enamel.
Eating sugary foods regularly is more harmful than eating a large quantity of sugary food at once, so having a large dessert once a week is better than having small sugary snacks every day. Even better, try options made with some of the promising sugar-free ingredients now available.
If you do have sugar, remember to brush your teeth immediately afterward.
3. Turn to Fluoride Toothpaste
Choosing the right toothpaste can also make a difference in the remineralization process. But not just any toothpaste will do. Fluoride toothpaste helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
When bacteria eat sugar, they create acid that destroys enamel. Fluoride toothpaste can help repair tooth enamel by combating the damage the acid creates.
There are also other fluoride treatments you can rely on. These include drops for your teeth, fluoride supplements, mouth rinses, and a fluoride varnish that contains high levels of fluoride.
4. Increase Saliva Production
Increasing saliva flow can also help remineralize your teeth naturally. There are essential components in your saliva, including phosphate and calcium, that can neutralize acids and provide minerals to your teeth to prevent tooth decay.
Saliva is an integral part of your oral health, protecting against gum disease, dental caries, and oral infections. If you do not have enough saliva production, it's important to increase production.
Several ways to increase saliva production include:
Chewing sugar-free gum
Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
Avoiding spicy, salty, or highly acidic foods
Having a dry mouth because of dehydration can cause a decrease in your saliva, so staying hydrated is essential. Avoid drinks with added sugars, like many fruit juices, and instead choose options that are naturally free of sugar, including water.
Chewing gums that do not contain sugar can also help increase saliva. Sugarless gum can help remove plaque and sugar from your teeth naturally while also promoting saliva-making. Additionally, gum can function as a barrier to prevent mineral loss. For the best results, chew sugarless gum between or right after meals.
If you take medications that cause a dry mouth, you may want to speak with your doctor to see if there are alternatives. You also have the option of artificial saliva that comes in a spray and can help prevent tooth decay.
You can avoid a dry mouth by not eating foods with too much spice, salt, or acid. Alcohol and caffeine can also dehydrate you, so drink them in moderation.
5. Watch Your Fruit and Fruit Juice Consumption
Whole fruits as well as fruit juice can be highly acidic. Of course, citrus fruits are the most acidic.
Fruit acids create a harmful process called calcium chelation. Calcium chelation happens when acids bind to the calcium in your teeth and strip it away. Fruit juices may contribute to this process even more since many of them contain added sugars.
Moderate eating acidic fruits and also remember to brush your teeth after eating them to maintain good oral hygiene.
6. Add More Calcium and Vitamins to Your Diet
An excellent way to help remineralize teeth is to add vitamins and calcium to your regular balanced diet.
Calcium is naturally produced by your teeth, but over time this calcium breaks down, which can lead to tooth decay. Eating calcium-rich cheese can help replace calcium levels in your teeth, and it can even counteract the effects of eating sugar.
Another important vitamin for healthy teeth is vitamin D. Vitamin D can help protect your teeth from streptococcus mutans bacteria and block mineral loss, too. If you do not get enough of this vitamin naturally in your diet, consider vitamin D supplements.
Phosphorus is another important mineral for promoting remineralization. It can help protect your teeth and rebuild tooth enamel.
7. Reduce Consumption of Starchy Foods
Starchy foods contain simple carbohydrates, which can increase the level of fermentable sugars in your mouth.
These sugars help feed potentially harmful strains of bacteria that can damage your teeth. The most common starch-laden foods to avoid are bread, potatoes, and rice.
Although all carbohydrates can lead to an increase in fermentable sugars, the damage is worse when eating starchy foods combined with sugars. You might have more damage, for example, if you eat sweetened rice instead of plain rice.
8. Increase Water Intake
Water is naturally sugar-free and helps remove harmful substances from your mouth. Drinking water can prevent you from having a dry mouth, and it can even work as a natural way of helping remineralize your teeth if you do not have toothpaste.
Drinking water is particularly useful after eating sugary and acidic foods.
Avoid drinking too much tea and coffee, which are both acidic. Limit high-sugar sodas as well. To promote remineralization, stick to drinking water as much as you can.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Remineralization
Find the answers to your most pressing questions about remineralization below.
How Long Does Tooth Remineralization Take?
Tooth remineralization can take three to four months. Once you start taking care of your teeth regularly, however, you can start seeing the effects even sooner. Many people also experience less tooth sensitivity just by using remineralizing toothpaste.
When Is It Too Late for Remineralizing Teeth?
If your teeth have moved past the first stage of tooth decay, it's likely that reversing the damage is no longer possible. The first sign of this is if your teeth have holes, or cavities, in them. You cannot repair cavities without the help of a dentist.
How Can I Tell if My Teeth Are Remineralizing?
If your teeth are healing, you will likely not experience as much sensitivity to cold and heat. You might also see your teeth looking brighter and healthier overall.
Does Remineralization Whiten Teeth?
There are remineralizing tooth-whitening powders that can brighten your smile while helping improve your dental health.
Can Baking Soda Help Remineralize Teeth?
Baking soda is an alkaline that can help regulate your body's pH levels, including the level in your mouth, by neutralizing acidity.
Brushing with baking soda can help prevent tooth decay while also helping remineralize your teeth.
Remineralization Is Possible
Tooth decay occurs when your teeth lose their enamel in a process called tooth demineralization.
You can improve your dental health and begin remineralizing your teeth by using fluoride toothpaste, avoiding certain foods that can make bacteria in your mouth worse, increasing your water intake, brushing your teeth regularly, and increasing certain vitamins and minerals.
All these actions can slow down or reverse demineralization.
By choosing an effective combination of toothbrush and toothpaste, you can improve weakened enamel and promote tooth remineralization.
Contact Snow today to maintain healthy teeth and a healthy mouth overall.