healthy smileThe environment in your mouth plays a role in the integrity of your tooth enamel. When you lack certain nutrients, minerals are lost, weakening the teeth and priming them for decay.

But just as minerals can be pulled out of teeth, they can be pushed back in. You only need to create an environment in mouth and body that promotes this.

Saliva is a key player. It holds the minerals and buffering ability needed for remineralization and supporting good bacteria, helping keep teeth strong. It also keeps conditions less acidic, and that means less decay. Minerals – especially calcium and phosphorous – need an alkaline state.

(How’s your saliva’s buffering ability? Find out! Eat a raw almond and then check your saliva’s pH. If the strip indicates acid, your saliva’s buffering ability is weak. Alkaline means you have plenty of bicarbonate to neutralize acid production.)

Diet is the best way to keep your saliva more alkaline. Foods rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, D3, K, and CoQ10 provide key nutrients for remineralization. (See the article to the right.) Since these are fat soluble nutrients, taking them with good fats means better absorption.

When your saliva contains these minerals and vitamins, your teeth get what they need – provided you keep them clean. Otherwise, minerals have trouble getting to the decalcified areas.

But there are other health issues that can interfere with remineralization. For instance, gut problems can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients. Sleep apnea and other causes of low oxygen have an acidic effect on the body – and teeth are among the first to react. As you address these, you can expect to see real oral health improvements.

Keep in mind, though, that remineralization is a process for healthy enamel. Once it’s lost – due to erosion or decay – it can’t be regrown. There are no cells in your body that can produce new enamel. Just another reason why you need to take good care of it now – addressing other risk factors, as well (e.g., dry mouth, clenching, malocclusion) – before any damage occurs.

Bottom line? You can remineralize your teeth. Just give your body what it needs.

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