healthy smile

Folks who tout fluoride say that it’s needed to help keep your tooth enamel strong and prevent decay. Of course, fluoride is also a known neurotoxin. (It has other effects on health, as well.) It’s also not a mineral that your teeth actually need.

teeth showing enamel lossThere’s no fluoride in natural tooth enamel. Enamel is mostly made of hydroxyapatite, a crystalline calcium phosphate. Some of this mineral structure gets lost over time, often due to an acidic diet but also factors like bruxing (clenching or grinding the teeth), acid reflux, or the use of some medications.

This enamel loss exposes the living tissues below, making the tooth vulnerable to decay.

The good news is that, under the right conditions, your body is able to remineralize your teeth, helping them stay strong and resistant to caries.

But what are we talking about exactly when we talk remineralization?

What we’re NOT talking about is “curing” tooth decay. While you can certainly stop early decay from getting worse – something Weston Price wrote about in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – you can’t regrow a strong and beautiful tooth covered in fresh enamel. We’re not like lizards, regenerating their tails.

No matter what you do, cavities don’t fill themselves, and lost tooth enamel will never, ever grow back. You don’t have the cells you need to make more.

No, what we’re talking about here is a process that should be ongoing, continually replenishing your teeth with the minerals they need to keep from becoming decayed in the first place. It’s something your body does naturally, provided you give it the resources it needs.

Here are four keys for making sure it happens:

Good Hygiene

Keeping your teeth and gums clean is fundamental. Without good oral hygiene, it’s two steps forward and about a million steps back.

So that means brushing twice a day and flossing or otherwise cleaning between your teeth at least once a day. For brushing, we love Revitin prebiotic toothpaste especially, as it feeds the helpful bacteria in your mouth.

We also recommend using a baking soda and water solution in a Waterpik to further help with remineralization: 2 teaspoons of baking soda to a full reservoir of water.

Good hygiene also means regular exams and cleanings at your friendly biological dental office, which also give us an opportunity to identify any signs of enamel erosion or other problems early so we can help you step up your game.

Healthy Saliva

Saliva is the way minerals are delivered to your teeth. It’s also the means of neutralizing acids that form when you eat refined sugars and other hyper-processed carbs. So you want your saliva to have a neutral to alkaline pH.

It’s easy to test its pH with test strips you can find a drugstores and online. (Here’s how.) If you find that your saliva is leaning toward the acidic, there are alkaline toothpastes and mouthwashes that can help, but the real key is nutrition – eating a healthy, whole foods-based diet that delivers the minerals and other nutrients you need for remineralization and a healthy oral microbiome alike.

Proper Nutrition

Calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium are the three most crucial minerals that need to be constantly restored to your teeth. Other nutrients support this process, as well as your overall oral health: vitamins A, E, K, K2, and D3, and CoQ10. For an overview of these, including good dietary sources, check out our earlier newsletter.

fresh eggs & produceAlways, your best sources of these and all other nutrients your body needs is the food you eat, but supplements can be helpful.

One thing we don’t advise, though: snacking through the day, as this can keep conditions in your mouth on the acidic side, disrupting the normal remineralization process.

In addition, it’s a good idea to stick to more alkaline foods. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is strongly acidic, and that fuels chronic inflammation and the host of ills that follow. Those ills include gum disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cognitive decline, and much more. Eating to alkalinize counters that, and you’ll find our tips on how to do that here.

After you eat, run your tongue thoroughly across all your teeth, like you’re scrubbing them with your tongue. This helps distribute saliva where it needs to go. (Think of your tongue as nature’s own toothbrush!)

Enough Good Quality Sleep

If you’re struggling with sleep apnea or other airway issues, your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs. That lack of oxygen also contributes to higher body acidity, and this, in turn, can further sap you of the calcium your teeth (and bones) need.

At Green City Dental, we have the tools to determine if you have airway issues that may be contributing to oral or systemic health problems – and a variety of non-invasive options for treating them.

The Takeaway

Remineralization isn’t magical or instantaneous, but it’s also not rocket science. When we work as a team to develop good nutrition, build proper hygiene, and support deep, regenerative sleep, our guess is you’ll realize benefits far beyond remineralization. . . like feeling reenergized, revitalized, and ready for almost anything!

Enamel loss image by James Heilman, MD, via Wikimedia Commons

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