Demineralization of teeth: causes and symptoms
Poor hygiene, bad brushing techniques, as well as certain profound body changes or inappropriate diet can lead to tooth decay due to changed acid levels in the oral cavity.
Acids demineralize the tooth structure by dissolving calcium, phosphorus, etc. This enamel erosion leads to dental cavities. Demineralized surfaces are porous and adherent, thus becoming favorable to bacteria growth that causes dental cavities and decay.
In other words, enamel demineralization equals the beginning of cavity formation. Often, as a result of smoothness reduction, the tooth surface may suffer from superficial pigmentation, which can be visually unpleasant and impossible to remove with the toothbrush. Demineralized teeth are very sensitive to diverse stimuli: sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks, as well as sensitive to the touch; brushing can be uncomfortable, even painful, and the patient can be tempted to skip brushing or cut it short, which is usually fatal for his or her teeth. When demineralized hypersensitive teeth are not properly cleaned, severe dental cavities affect the entire dental structure. Treatment becomes difficult. Patients need to understand that this condition appears as a result of an infection that can easily get out of control if hygiene is neglected.
Treatment and prevention
Should the patient go to the dentist’s twice a year for routine check-ups, there usually is enough time to treat demineralization other than with the dental drill, before it turns into actual cavities. You need to discuss with your dentist any recent dental sensitivity or pigmentation. Treatment includes cleaning the demineralized area and remineralization.
It is crucial that the patient does not postpone the visit to the dental office to a point where rampant caries occur. This type of cavities can appear in both baby teeth and permanent teeth.
What is remineralization?
Fluoride prevents demineralization, becoming part of the tooth structure. Treatments that involve dental remineralization can be performed in the dental office, by applying a gel substance on the tooth surface (fluoridation), or at home, by maintaining perfect hygiene and switching to special formula toothpaste with extra fluoride.
It is highly important that the patient does not decide his or her treatment without consulting the dentist: the internet and a bunch of product flyers cannot replace the expertise of a professional.
Yet, what can a patient do at home to improve his oral health?
- Daily oral hygiene. Make sure your brushing technique is correct. Remember that brushing immediately after a meal is not necessarily the best idea: due to acidic levels in your mouth, it is usually better to wait for a half an hour before you brush.
- Improved diet. We usually take calcium and phosphates from dairy products. Not only your toothpaste is a reliable source of fluoride: along with it, there are numerous other handy sources, such as mineral water, tea, fish, seafood, wheat, etc. Do not jump to the conclusion that a cup of milk tea can do wanders to your eroded teeth and prevent cavity formation. Yet, in the long run, a good diet can prove to be more important than you may think. Even chewing gum has its benefits, by stimulating saliva production; saliva protects your dental enamel and facilitates remineralization.