December 7, 2017 Can Tooth Enamel Regrow? The question I often get asked is, Can toothpastes or mouthwash regrow or strengthen tooth enamel? I have to take a moment to answer with clarity because many of my patients experience the results of battered or damaged tooth enamel. When you maintain good brushing and flossing care for your teeth, your tooth enamel will benefit. If your teeth experience poor oral maintenance, enamel is at risk of irreversible damage. Since enamel is the thin outer covering of teeth that protects the delicate tissues inside, damage to it can result in a breakdown affecting how your teeth look as well as their overall health. Many patients do not realize that in its original state, tooth enamel is translucent and reflects a pearly white nature. However, with wear, age and possible poor care, it becomes worn, showing the yellow dentin lying underneath. If you have a habit of drinking beverages such as coffee, tea and red wine or chewing hard substances such as ice or hard candies, you may be at a greater risk of staining, chipping or damaging your tooth enamel. Even though enamel is one of the hardest substances in our bodies, it is not a substance that can be artificially stimulated or created. Once your enamel is gone, it cannot be restored. The Culprits Meet Fluoride to the Rescue! However the news is not all bad; there are certain dental products that can promote re-mineralization of enamel. This process happens in a wonderful way. To combat the villains such as red wine, coffee or tea that leach calcium and phosphates out of your teeth, fluoride serves as a net to capture these minerals lost in your saliva and forces them back into your tooth. This process serves to harden the remaining enamel present. While acid draws calcium and phosphates out of teeth, fluoride captures the minerals from saliva and forces them back into the tooth. User Beware So beware on the acid front! Even placing lemons or oranges in your tea or water can add to the enamel list of culprits. Remember, if it tastes acidic it probably is… which can in turn add to the erosion happening to your tooth enamel. To add insult to injury, brushing immediately following drinking or eating something acidic softens the teeth, leading to even more tooth damage. While the acid softens the tooth you then brush while they vulnerable, causing the tooth to wear down and erode from the abrasive brushing. How to Combat Additional Abrasion Something as simple as a straw can be one tip to offset this process. When you do drink orange juice or other acidic beverages, using this drinking method allows you to push the fluid to the back of your mouth, avoiding direct contact on your teeth. Additionally, chewing sugar free gum stimulates saliva, which lessens the affects of the acid on your teeth. New Research on the Horizon New research is ongoing to attempt to develop enamel-like substances that will actually cover the teeth. New reports document studies in Japan that have taken the material known as “hydroxyapatite” (the biomaterial that makes up enamel) and morphed it into a thin film that can be wrapped around the tooth as an enamel substitute. They reported, “It’s a promising start, though many dentists are not convinced it’s the right way to go. Hydroxyapatite’s a complex crystal; you can’t just stuff it onto the outside of the tooth and make it stick there,” says Wolff. “[Maybe] in the future with nanotechnology we can find a way to grow crystals on the outside of the tooth that are part of the actual tooth or bonded onto it, but at this particular moment we have nothing like that.” What Can Be Done About Previous Damage and Preventing Cavities? If you find that your teeth or gums have become painful to hot and cold substances, or they hurt when you chew food, you may need to have your dentist do a tooth cleaning, x-rays and initial assessment of your teeth. In our office, Caffaratti Dental Group offers new patient specials throughout the year, making it very affordable for you to receive needed dental treatment. If tooth decay or teeth fillings are necessary, we offer beautiful tooth-colored bonding that will match your teeth, serving to hide the damage that has occurred. To protect from further damage, I also recommend teeth sealants to cover your teeth. Wherever you find yourself in the spectrum, we all experience wear of our teeth; however, it is proven that regular dental checkups, cleaning and cavity treatment can protect your teeth and overall physical health. Find a great dentist to take care of your teeth to maintain those pearly whites. To come see us at Caffaratti Dental Group, please call 775-358-1555. We look forward to seeing you!