Tooth enamel is really precious. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, but before it’s gone, there are many ways that your body works to preserve it. This includes structuring enamel so it can crack and stay strong, as well as the ability for your body to restore minerals lost from your enamel.
Now a new toothpaste is claiming that it can help your body with this process, repairing your teeth overnight with the slow release of minerals. Here’s what our Wilmington, NC dentist has to say on the subject.
Acids, Bases, and Minerals in Your Teeth
Your tooth enamel is 96% mineral, giving it the highest mineral content of any structure in your body. That’s part of what makes it so strong and attractive, but it also makes it vulnerable to attack by acids. When your mouth is acidic, the minerals in your teeth are dissolved and washed away. But when the mouth is alkaline, basic, minerals in the saliva can help reform tooth enamel.
Throughout the day, your saliva works to help keep your mouth alkaline. It might be overwhelmed for short periods of time when you drink a soda or other acidic beverage, and there are local acidic pockets wherever bacteria are feeding.
But at night, saliva production decreases, and the mouth becomes more acidic. This speeds the destruction of your tooth enamel, which is why you’re encouraged to brush before going to bed, to help remove bacteria and supply your teeth with fluoride, which helps the remineralization process.
But with traditional toothpaste, the fluoride only stays in your mouth a short period of time, which is why researchers are promoting a new toothpaste that promises to supply your teeth with fluoride for hours.
Bioglass Delivers Minerals
The secret to the time-release minerals is the use of a special bioglass formula that contains fluoride. Bioglass is glass that is biodegradable. Tiny marbles (less than the width of a human hair) are included in the toothpaste. As they dissolve, they release their fluoride, along with calcium and phosphorous, two other vital minerals for your teeth.
This can take hours or even all night, ensuring your teeth can continue to remineralize throughout the night.
An Unproven Technology
But before we let ourselves get swept up in the hype surrounding this product, we have to note that we don’t know whether it really works. So far, it’s only available in Britain, which has different standards for the approval of over-the-counter medical products like toothpaste.
And there are no studies that show this product actually works to prevent tooth decay, or to check whether it has side effects. For example, it’s possible that the slow-release mineral formula could actually speed the formation of tartar, increasing your risk of gum disease. Trading fewer fillings for more gum disease would not be a good trade in a toothpaste.
But we will keep our eye on this development and see if it proves to be a good one. In the meantime, if you are looking for a proven way to help prevent cavities in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.