In the old understanding of how minerals are incorporated into the body, there was a notion that the minerals were there while we were growing as children and the bones and teeth were either strong or they weren’t, dooming a person to a life of “soft bones” or “soft teeth.” A better understanding of how hard tissues, like bones and teeth, developed and led to a better understanding of the role of calcium in bone health and an awareness of how calcium-rich diets can improve bone health throughout an entire lifespan, not just the growing years. And yet, we were still told that teeth were only helped by minerals in childhood.
Happily, we have a much better understanding of mineral processes in the oral environment now than we have ever had before. We understand that lost minerals can be reintroduced to the teeth, and that remineralization strategies can make a huge difference for tooth health. While the enamel framework of a tooth is not naturally rebuilt by the body if it is lost, the minerals that fill out that framework can be replenished throughout daily life. Sure, the minerals can be lost, but they can also be replaced with stronger or weaker minerals based on what minerals are available.
There are more tools in the dental health kit than the dental drill. Using our understanding of how to strengthen weakened teeth has given us a blueprint for remineralizing teeth.
Hydroxyapatite: The Basic Building Block
Hydroxyapatite is a naturally occurring form of calcium that makes up as much as 70% bone and is the main mineral in tooth enamel. If you have demineralized enamel, the minerals lost are hydroxyapatite molecules. Improvements in the ability to synthesize bio-identical (just like that which occurs in your body) hydroxyapatite for medical use have greatly benefited people trying to treat early mineral loss in teeth. But, foods are not likely to have bioavailable hydroxyapatite in them.
So, use a toothpaste or tooth gel with bioavailable nano hydroxyapatite to remineralize your teeth.
Fluoride: Mighty Mineral Glue
Hydroxyapatite is the basic building brick, but mortar holds brick together. In the case of teeth, the mortar is fluoride. When hydroxyapatite is applied to the teeth in combination with fluoride, the fluoride helps the teeth incorporate it effectively into the existing enamel structure.
It was once believed that fluoride would only help bind calcium into teeth before they erupted, which meant people thought fluoride would only benefit young children. Advances in our understanding of enamel and the oral environment have shown that topical fluoride can help teeth of all ages.
High pH: The Right Environment
There’s a reason that paints and glues specify a temperature range at which they need to cure. The right environmental conditions lead to the right finished state. The same is true of the oral environment and keeping healthy teeth. A high pH environment allows for remineralized teeth.
There is a natural pH cycle in the mouth. It drops after eating or drinking sweetened beverages, becoming more acidic, then the high acid environment dissolves minerals out of the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the pH rises with saliva after eating, allowing those minerals to redeposit on the teeth. If anything interrupts the rise in pH (frequent snacks, low saliva, etc.), there is a chance the minerals will be stripped away.
Keep the pH levels high to give the minerals that were dissolved away while eating and the minerals you’ve reintroduced by using the proper oral care products the best chance to remineralize teeth.
Xylitol: The Finishing Touches
Xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from birch trees or plant fiber, is a surprise champion for tooth health. It helps maintain oral health in multiple ways. In addition to killing cavity-causing bacteria by starving it to death, xylitol increases calcium absorption. It also helps raise saliva pH, making the oral environment more friendly for tooth remineralization. Using products with clinically significant amounts of xylitol for oral care is the finishing touch to your building of good health.
Remineralizing Teeth the Right Way
By following the blueprint for remineralized teeth, you have an almost foolproof way to re-harden your teeth, increasing their beauty and their strength.