The hardest tissue in the human body is the tooth enamel (until it isn’t). Keeping our teeth healthy is, at least in part, a matter of keeping our enamel in great shape. Sometimes, the stress our daily life puts on our oral health can compromise the strength of our tooth enamel. Acid attacks from our foods, cracks from grinding and clenching, and less than perfect oral care habits are just a few of the ways we can end up with weakened tooth enamel. So, how do we strengthen our tooth enamel if ends up in less-than-perfect condition?
First, the Bare Bones
It’s a good idea to understand the basics of how enamel is built if we want to understand how to build it back up. Tooth enamel is built up of minerals, mostly calcium and phosphorus, in crystal form layered onto a mineral framework. The enamel starts to grow and develop in infancy, but, unlike skin or muscles, enamel is not regenerative tissue. That means it does not keep re-growing and repairing itself throughout our lives. Enamel cannot make more enamel. When enamel is damaged or weakened, it needs external help to restore its structure.
A Fortified Diet
As you may have noticed, calcium is a building block of enamel. Calcium is also a valuable building block in a healthy diet. A proper dietary intake of calcium is good for your bone health, as you may have heard, and it also helps keep enamel hard and in good shape. If you’re avoiding dairy in your diet for any reason, there are still plenty of calcium-rich foods you can use to help protect your toothy grin.
Replacing What’s Lost
But, what’s to be done when we need to strengthen weakened enamel instead of just keeping existing enamel strong? For years, fluoride has been added to toothpaste and rinses to help preserve enamel health. When the tooth surface includes fluoride in the crystal structure, it is slightly harder and more acid resistant. Ongoing research into better dental materials has yielded some excellent news for patients trying to heal enamel. Nano hydroxyapatite can measurably increase the strength of enamel. Since it is the mineral that teeth are naturally made of, it is readily incorporated into weakened enamel, re-strengthening it.
Of course, not all toothpastes are created equal. CariFree CTx4 Gel 1100 contains both fluoride and nano hydroxyapatite to maximize its remineralizing capability. When we look for a remineralizing toothpaste that will do the most good, it’s important to check the ingredients to make sure the product is doing everything possible to build up the tooth enamel surface.