Last updated: Feb 27, 2020 | 1028 Views | Oral and dental care
Understanding Tooth Mineralization
As mentioned before, tooth mineralization is a dynamic process.
But what does this really mean?
It may come as a surprise to you, but teeth are porous. The outer surface is covered in tiny, innumerable holes. This makes it easy for minerals and other substances to enter the enamel of your teeth. Coffee and smoke stain teeth in this way.
Calcium, phosphate, and other teeth-rebuilding elements contained in saliva attach directly to and harden enamel. Similarly, acids generated in the mouth can penetrate teeth and create cavities.
To maximize tooth remineralization, increase the presence of calcifying minerals in your saliva while limiting acidity.
But that is only part of the story:
Remember, remineralization is also supported from the inside.
A tooth has three layers. The middle layer, called dentin, gets a boost of nutrients when your body senses tooth decay or damage. It keeps some for itself and passes the rest onto the enamel. This is the single most important part of remineralization.
Those tiny holes mentioned earlier are called dentinal tubules. Cells at the pulp, dentin junction called odontoblasts pump lymph material through those tubules. This “dentinal fluid” travels all the way to the tooth surface, forcing food debris, bacteria, and acids out of the pores. The process increases during eating and cleans and protects teeth.
However, improper diet interrupts this process. When the lymph fluid isn’t pumping through your teeth, the pressure reverses. This causes your teeth to slowly suck food, microorganisms, and acids into your enamel. From there, they wreak havoc.
This is the true cause of tooth decay. The evidence seems to imply that you could hold off tooth decay indefinitely with the right diet—but no one wants to be the first to say it.
cavityEvidence also suggests that if decay penetrates all the way down to the dentin, remineralization may not be enough to cure a cavity. The more severe the damage, the lower your chances.
The best approach is to use this process to prevent instead of heal.
Remineralization is a consistent process in a healthy mouth. It’s that healthy mouth part that people have a hard time with. And that’s because they have a hard time eating a healthy diet.
Making conscious eating decisions is hard for most people. One thing that makes it easier though, is reviewing the reasons why you should.