Halloween has passed and now many of us have sizable stashes of candy sitting around and tempting us to munch more often than usual. Between that and all the goodies that are likely to surround us over the coming holiday season, it’s a good time to remind patients that their teeth may need extra care to help them stay healthy during the season of excess sweets. Remineralizing products or toothpastes are one way to give your teeth a little extra help.
What is remineralization? Well, first there is demineralization. Sugary and carbohydrate-containing foods feed the bacteria that inhabit our mouths. The bacteria then secrete acid as they digest, and the acid weakens the enamel of the teeth, causing calcium and phosphate to dissolve from the enamel in a process called demineralization, which makes teeth susceptible to decay. Remineralizing toothpastes contain substances that help tooth enamel re-harden after this acid exposure.
What sorts of substances make reminralizing toothpastes and products special? Here are few:
Fluoride– Fluoride is a prime ingredient, a catalyst for the remineralization process. It can also be incorporated into the enamel and add some resistance to future acid attacks. The inclusion of fluoride in the regular toothpastes available at any common store is pretty much universal and allows all fluoride-containing toothpastes to have some ability to help teeth remineralize. But special remineralizing toothpastes will often contain more fluoride or a special type of fluoride for added benefits.
Tri Calcium Phosphate (TCP) – In order for teeth to remineralize optimally, the mininrals that have leached out must be present in the saliva in order to be incorporated back into the enamel. TCP provides the calcium and phosphate ions necessary for tooth remineralization, and it works in conjunction with fluoride to produce superior enamel remineralization than using fluoride alone.
Amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) – ACP provides calcium and phosphate ions for the remineralization process. Studies have demonstrated a 78% decrease in dentin permeability with use of ACP. The addition of Casein phosphopeptide (CPP) to ACP is known as RECALDENT™. The presence of CPP is stabilizing and allows for a longer absorption time, but please be advised that those with milk allergies are contraindicated.
Two products our office keeps in stock are MI Paste with RECALDENT™, and Clinpro with tri-calcium phosphate and 1.1% sodium fluoride. Patients are welcome to contact us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry to find out if special remineralizing products might be a good fit for their dental needs this holiday season or all year long. Sweets are sweet, but without care they might sour your smile… we are here to help keep your smile sweet too!