Every day your body works diligently to rebuild the enamel of your teeth. This natural process is called remineralization. The surface of each tooth is covered in tiny holes that make it easy for minerals to enter the enamel. Teeth rebuilding compounds contained in your saliva (phosphorus, vitamin D, Vitamin K2, magnesium and calcium) attach to the enamel and harden it. At the same time, acids are being developed in your mouth, attacking your teeth and wearing away at your enamel in a process called demineralization. The trick is to support the process of remineralization and decrease demineralization. If you can do this, no more cavities! So, let’s get busy and help that remineralization process!
There are three main strategies for increasing remineralization and decreasing demineralization.
Optimize your diet:
- To assist your teeth in remineralization, eat whole foods and healthy fats. Reduce the consumption of refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and highly acidic foods. Make sure your diet includes mushrooms, eggs, grass-fed beef, salmon, broccoli, dairy, and leafy greens as these foods are particularly good at supporting remineralization. Sip on black or green tea as they inhibit bacteria and slow plaque growth.
- Most people do not get enough sun exposure and are therefore low in Vitamin D, a compound that assists in the absorption of calcium. Adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet can increase remineralization.
- Consider the use of probiotics (good bacteria that are either the same as or very similar to the bacteria that are already in your body). Probiotics reduce plaque growth, fight bad breath, help prevent oral cancer, assist in managing the symptoms of gingivitis, and decrease inflammation from gum disease.
Practice good oral hygiene:
- Use the right toothbrush: Select a soft-bristle brush with varying bristle heights. Replace your brush every 3 to 4 months.
- Pay attention to your brushing technique: Brush twice a day by placing your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums and moving it in small, gentle, circular motions. Turn your brush vertically to clean the insides of the front teeth, brush the chewing surfaces with short back and forth strokes and lightly brush your tongue.
- Use the right toothpaste: Brush with fluoride toothpaste. You may consider “all-in-one toothpastes” for ingredients that help care for your teeth and gums.
- Floss daily: If you find flossing difficult, try a dental pick (a small plastic pick that removes large food particles caught along the gum line or between the teeth) or flossers (a small plastic tool with a curved end that holds a piece of dental floss).
- Use fluoridated mouthwash daily.
- Rinse your mouth after eating: This helps rid the mouth of food and bacteria that can lead to plaque and tartar build-up thus reducing demineralization.
- Use a gum stimulator: Available in drug stores, a gum stimulator is a device with a rubber tip used to gently massage the gums stimulating blood flow.
- Stop Smoking: Smoking makes a person more susceptible to gum disease by weakening the immune system.
- See your dentist: Book regular visits with your dentist who can spot the signs of early gum disease and tooth deterioration.
Use remineralization promoters: Remineralization promoters are a new and intersecting addition to the dental health scene. Ask your dentist about these cutting edge products.
- CPP-ACP (an acronym for casein phosphopeptides and amorphous calcium phosphate) is made from a milk protein called casein and will raise the amount of remineralization minerals in your mouth. This compound is new to the dental market and is trademarked Recaldent™. It is found in Trident Xtra Care Gum and GC’s MI paste.
- There are new tooth varnishes that make tooth enamel more resistant to acid attack and speed up remineralization. Vanish™ 5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish with TCP and 3M™ ESPE™ Vanish™ 5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish are two examples.
Our bodies are amazing! Give your mouth what it needs and it will work hard at the process of remineralization; repairing enamel, strengthening your teeth and reducing cavities. Talk to your dentist about how she can help you in your quest for healthy teeth.
For all your dental needs, questions, and concerns call Centennial Smiles at (587) 317-7959.