like what’s causing it to weaken, what are the side effects of a weak enamel and what can they do to improve its strength. This blog is here to give our patients the information they need to help maintain the health of their tooth’s enamel. As a result, your teeth will be healthier and be better at protecting you from cavities and decay. Find out what our Leesburg dentist can teach you about protecting your tooth’s enamel.
What is Demineralization of your Enamel?
Demineralization means just what it sounds like, it’s when your enamel begins to lose its mineral content. This is one of the first steps of tooth decay. At this point, your dentist will want to take action to prevent any further demineralization from occurring, otherwise, serious consequences can result. Your enamel is a high mineral content that’s entirely responsible for protecting your teeth from bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities. When plaque forms on your teeth and it’s not removed, it can pierce demineralized enamel quite easily. From there, your tooth can become infected. With strong enamel, this becomes less likely.
Demineralization can also cause your teeth to appear less attractive. This is because demineralized enamel makes your teeth look rough and discolored. Your tooth should look smooth and slippery when it’s healthy. In addition, demineralization can also compromise your oral hygiene because it makes it more difficult. This is because brushing and flossing can become painful. As a result, you might brush less or not as effective, which increases your risk of developing cavities even more. It’s best to visit your dentist at the first sign of demineralization in your teeth.
Ways to Avoid Demineralization
Demineralization can happen to anyone, and it’s mostly caused by overly sugary or acidic drinks like soda or energy drinks. The acid in the drinks, as well as the sugar, cause the bacteria in your mouth to fermentation, and as a result, it breaks down your enamel. Demineralization can also be caused by lack of proper oral hygiene. When you skip out on brushing or flossing your teeth, you’re leaving a layer of bacteria on your teeth for the night. This will fermentate and cause tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. It’s important to brush properly and twice per day as well as floss.
Even not brushing effectively can cause tooth decay. Check with your hygienist to see if there are any spots you’re missing. We recommend electric toothbrushes over manual ones for better results. Electric toothbrushes help you not miss any spots. There are smart toothbrushes out there that will actually tell you where you missed a spot in your mouth. If you find it hard to brush properly, you might find it worth your while to invest in one of these toothbrushes. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks as well as keeping up with your oral hygiene can help your mouth stay healthy and help you avoid demineralization.
Restoring Your Enamel
Unfortunately, once the damage has been done, there is nothing your dentist can do to restore your enamel. Science has yet to figure out how to grow it back once it disappears. Your enamel is not a growing tissue like bones or skin. There is also no other sources of enamel throughout your body that could be used for a graft. This means the enamel on your teeth is all that you have so it’s important that you take care of it to maintain its strength. The only solutions we have for protecting your teeth are placing dental crowns over your teeth or porcelain veneers. These can cover your damaged enamel and give your teeth an extra layer of protection but they can be quite expensive.
Fluoride Treatments for Your Enamel
You might remember having fluoride treatments when you were a kid. There used to be this foam where you got to pick a flavor like bubblegum and you would let it sit in your mouth with a tray for about 30 minutes before your dentist came in to spit it out. Today, your dentist just paints on the fluoride treatment. It’s a clear coat that stays on your teeth for an hour before you brush it off. Fluoride is a natural mineral that plays a large role in your tooth enamel. The minerals in fluoride are used to restore the minerals in your tooth enamel which helps your teeth stay strong and smooth.
Fluoride can be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, your drinking water from the tap and lastly from your dentist. Fluoride is safe in small quantities so there’s no reason to worry about drinking it in your water. We don’t recommend you include extra fluoride in your daily routine unless our dentist has instructed you to do so. Daily fluoride in your toothpaste should be enough to keep your teeth strong but our Leesburg dentist might tell you otherwise if he finds that there is demineralization occurring in your teeth.
Demineralization from Diet
Although we already talked about how sugary drinks can cause demineralizing, well, not eating enough calcium and phosphates from dairy products, meat or leafy vegetables can also cause demineralization. In other words, it’s important to eat a healthy diet filled with dairy, meat and vegetables and one with little to no extra sugar from processed food or drinks. Eating healthy foods will help you maintain your strong enamel and also give you some other great health benefits.
Visit Our Leesburg Dentist for your Next Cleaning
Another important way to maintain the strength of your tooth’s enamel and avoid demineralization is by visiting our dentist for your next cleaning and exam. We will clean away stubborn plaque and tartar and give you any necessary treatments to keep your teeth healthy! Schedule an appointment with our Leesburg dentist at Cardinal Park Family Dental by giving us a call or filling out our online form today.