How much do you know about tooth remineralization? Tooth remineralization is a normal process that happens each day within our mouths. Remineralization repairs the outer layer of our tooth, also known as enamel, which is known to be the hardest substance in our body. Tooth enamel comprises approximately 96% minerals including hydroxyapatite. Hydroxyapatite is made up of calcium, phosphate, and hydroxide, which are important for the integrity of our teeth. Naturally, the process of demineralization, otherwise known as the loss of minerals, happens when the normal bacteria within your mouth feed on the foods we eat and produce acids. Thus, it is important when consuming sugary and acidic foods and beverages to take necessary precautions to protect your teeth. For instance, consuming acidic items in moderation, rinsing with water afterwards, and practicing good oral hygiene habits. That is why our diet and lifestyle choices play an important role in the health of our teeth.
So, how do teeth become remineralized? Turns out, we can thank our saliva for playing a major role in protecting and repairing our tooth enamel. Saliva not only helps wash food away from adhering to your teeth, but it also neutralizes harmful acids. A healthy pH for our mouths is typically around 7.5 to 8.5. Once the pH drops below 5.5, this is when demineralization of tooth enamel begins to occur. The process of demineralization can lead our teeth to develop white spots or cavities. Saliva also consists of many minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride ions which all help boost enamel remineralization. That is why dry mouth, which can occur due to certain medications, medical conditions, or lack of water consumption for instance, can be detrimental to your oral health and put you at an increased risk of developing tooth decay. It is important to inform your dentist of your medical history during each visit.
We want our tooth enamel to stay strong so that our teeth last a lifetime. To promote the remineralization process within the oral cavity, make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss at least once a day. Be sure to consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals, including vegetables, cheese, fish, and eggs. Regular dental check-ups are key to help stop demineralization early and to treat it before they become cavities.