Many factors influence the strength of your tooth enamel, and demineralization and remineralization are among the many. Everyone wants strong and healthy teeth. And to keep your teeth in good condition, your body must balance the ratio between remineralization and demineralization. Disturbance to the ratio can lead to the weakening of tooth enamel and also impact your oral health.
Demineralization happens when there’s a shortage of mineral ions in the oral environment compared to your tooth enamel’s mineral content. The organic acids produced by plaque and bacteria eat away the enamel crystal, resulting in porous tooth enamel and cavities.
Remineralization is the process of tooth enamel repair. The lost calcium, fluoride, and phosphate ions are replaced by stronger and larger crystals that are more resistant to acid attacks.
There’s no doubt that tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body, but it too can be damaged. Tooth decay can easily and quickly impact the tooth enamel. It’s a common thought that tooth decay causes cavities, but it can also lead to a severe issue ‘demineralization.’ So what is tooth demineralization, and what are the treatment options?
Tooth demineralization occurs when the acids produced by dental plaque erode the enamel. Enamel is defined as the thin outer layer of the tooth and is made up of minerals such as calcium and phosphate. Tooth decay cause minerals of the enamel to wear away, giving you demineralized teeth. What does demineralized mean? It simply means a tooth enamel that has lost some of many of its minerals. We know it can be a bit weird to hear, but demineralization is a natural process and is very likely to occur during a tooth’s lifetime. However, your body continuously struggles to alleviate the impact of demineralization through a process called tooth remineralization.
Signs of Tooth Demineralization
Below are the signs of tooth demineralization.
- White Spots on Teeth
During the first stage, your teeth demineralize and lose their vital minerals. When this happens, you’ll notice white spots on the surface of your teeth. The minerals lost from these areas indicate the beginning of tooth decay.
- Dark Brown Spots
If tooth decay continuous and you fail to take any preventive measures, there will be further damage to the enamel. Now what you’ll witness is white spots on the tooth turning to dark brownish color. Weakened enamel is also prone to dental cavities or caries, and the result is tiny holes in your teeth.
- Sensitive Teeth
The layer under the tooth enamel is dentin, which is softer and can more easily be damaged by the mouth acids. This means that if tooth decay reaches the dentin, it will cause rapid damage. You’re likely to experience tooth sensitivity with damaged dentin, which can be worst when having hot or cold beverages or meals.
The most sensitive layer of your tooth is the pulp that consists of blood vessels and nerves. These nerves are also responsible for providing tooth sensation. When the dental pulp is compromised, it can become swollen. The surrounding tissues cannot handle such inflammation and exert pressure on the nerves, causing immense pain and discomfort.
- Fever, Swollen Gums
The advancement of tooth decay into the pulp can cause an infection. When swelling in the tooth worsens, pus forms at the lower portion of your tooth, known as an abscess. The signs and symptoms of a tooth abscess include severe pain, swollen jaw or face, gums, and fever. In some cases, patients may also experience swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck.
Tooth Demineralization Treatment
If your teeth are demineralizing, the following treatments can put an end to it and help mineralization of your tooth.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste
Brushing your teeth twice daily can help remove the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and mineral loss. But remember to use fluoride toothpaste as any other won’t give out expected results. Using a fluoride toothpaste will help prevent cavities and make your teeth stronger.
Eat less sugary foods
Reduce your intake of sugary foods to avoid demineralization. Sugar contains a high amount of acid and helps breaks the tooth enamel.
Chew sugar-free gum
Chew sugar-free gums as a measure towards tooth remineralization. Chewing sugar-free gums help eliminate plaque and sugar from the teeth and make the salivary glands work harder, producing
Eat calcium-rich foods
You can make up for the lost calcium of the teeth by eating calcium-rich foods.
Tooth remineralization is a natural repairing process that happens continuously inside the mouth. When your teeth are remineralizing, the eroded tooth enamel is being repaired, which helps prevent cavities.
What Is Remineralization Of Teeth
By definition tooth, enamel remineralization means giving the essential minerals back to the enamel to strengthen the teeth and fight against cavities and other oral issues.
How To Remineralize Your Teeth
Promote Saliva Production
Saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing the harmful acids in the mouth, providing your teeth phosphate and calcium ions to remineralize your teeth. If saliva is circulated continuously, it can help prevent the debris from accumulating and eliminates the bacteria that can produce mouth acids. When bacteria are removed, your tooth enamel can absorb the available calcium. So, a healthy supply of saliva can help remineralize your teeth.
If the amount of bacteria in your mouth is greater and the saliva cannot remove it, demineralization can occur. In case of dehydration, your body will produce less saliva because of dry mouth, and it slows down the functionality of salivary glands. Dehydration can promote tooth demineralization as it slows down the process of remineralization.
Can Teeth Be Remineralized?
As a treatment for enamel remineralization, prevent your body from dehydrating and letting your mouth dry. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also chew sugar-free gum to promote teeth remineralization. Still if you experience a dry mouth, consult a doctor to get treatment for your condition.
Use of Fluoride
If you want your teeth remineralized, fluoride can help. Applying fluoride to your teeth is an effective way to remineralize your teeth. You can either use fluoridated toothpaste or varnish. However, there are some other products available on the market that a dental professional may recommend to help remineralize your tooth enamel.
Signs Of Tooth Remineralization
If you notice that your teeth’ appearance is coming back to normal or the way it was before the damage occurred, your teeth are being remineralized. You may no more feel tooth sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking hot or cold foods or drinks. The pain or discomfort that you felt occasionally is gone, and there’s no swelling.
Remineralization Tooth Process
Our bodies can themselves protect tooth enamel, and saliva plays a significant role in this regard. Saliva is responsible for cleansing the teeth and reducing the levels of mouth acids. The saliva brings necessary minerals to the tooth to help remineralize the tooth damaged by tooth decay. Phosphate and calcium ions help strengthen the molecules where demineralization has occurred.
There are various other ways to assist the remineralization process. Use fluoride toothpaste to help increase the process by which minerals build back to the tooth surface. Fluoride can also help your teeth become stronger so they can fight against the bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities.
Causes Of Tooth Remineralization And Demineralization
Various reasons cause demineralization of tooth enamel, and practicing poor oral hygiene is the number one cause.
Poor Oral Hygiene
When you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth, bacteria and acids from the food debris can accumulate and damage your teeth. The damage is in the form of tooth decay and cavities that lead to tooth enamel demineralization.
Eating and drinking acidic foods and drinks can erode the vital tooth enamel and cause various dental issues.
If you have a dry mouth, it means your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, which is important to keep your mouth healthy and prevent cavities. Saliva keeps you away from dry mouth and is full of calcium and phosphate ions that help remineralize your mouth.
Rice, potatoes, bread are all starchy foods and are full of carbohydrates. These boost sugar levels in the mouth that can result in erosion of your teeth.
Dairy products can naturally provide you with calcium. However, dairy products contain lactose that can elevate the levels of mouth acid. But that doesn’t mean you should stop drinking milk. So, what you can do is go with lactose-free milk or choose other alternatives like almond milk.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit can be highly acidic for your teeth and promote demineralization. Fruit juices are especially bad because they contain a high amount of acid and sugar.
If you suspect that you are experiencing tooth demineralization, you can opt for the preventive measures discussed in this article. However, if you need expert advice or more details on tooth remineralization, you can contact the experts at Pearl Shine Dental. To get in touch, call 281-477-7200.