You may have seen products claiming to “remineralize” tooth enamel while browsing Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. But are these products actually effective? Today, our Charlotte general dentist explains some ways in which tooth enamel can be rebuilt.
It may surprise you to learn that the best defense your mouth has against cavities is your own saliva. Saliva actually contains minerals that naturally strengthen teeth, and kills bacteria that destroy enamel. This, in turn, keeps the mouth less acidic, which stops the enamel from eroding. All day and all night, your mouth is constantly exchanging minerals, namely calcium and phosphorous ions. Therefore, a big part of maintaining your enamel is drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated. Some medications can cause dry mouth, so be sure to discuss your medical history with both your doctor and your dentist.
The bacteria on your teeth love sugar and carbohydrates. When they eat those things, they process them into acid, which then destroys your enamel. That’s why maintaining a healthy diet is important for keeping your teeth strong and healthy. A diet high in sugars, carbohydrates, and grains will result in more cavities than a diet high in vegetables and non-sugary foods. It probably goes without saying, but you should also brush, floss, and use fluoride toothpaste every day to help keep plaque bacteria at bay.
Many new products claim to be able to remineralize teeth, but do not offer any studies or scientific basis for those claims. Be aware that a product that is not FDA-approved does not legally need to prove any claims it makes about itself.
However, there is one FDA-approved ingredient which has consistently been shown to rebuild enamel across multiple studies: fluoride. This naturally-occurring mineral has been added to municipal water supplies for decades to help reduce tooth decay. Any product containing fluoride will likely be effective in strengthening enamel, although this is not new—we have been adding fluoride to toothpaste and water since the 1970s!
If you are concerned about your tooth sensitivity, be sure to visit your Charlotte dentist office at least once every 6 months. Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth for cavities and areas of decalcification that may have grown beyond your control. If caught early enough, some small caries can be restored through the use of prescription fluoride products. To schedule an appointment with Park Cedar Dentistry, click here!