How to Reverse Tooth Decay with Remineralization

Many people get cavities, even though they brush and floss their teeth daily. This is especially common in children or those who have orthodontic braces. Limiting sugary foods and beverages may help, but some people are just more prone to developing cavities. Luckily, there is a natural solution that can help fight off damage-causing tooth decay. In this guide, we will introduce the process of tooth remineralization, which can strengthen the teeth and even reverse the signs of tooth decay. Let’s get started.

The Causes of Tooth Decay

Most of us have grown up believing that sugary foods and poor oral hygiene contribute to the formation of dental caries, more commonly known as cavities. While this is true, there is more to the story than avoiding sugary foods.

Some primitive cultures were known to have nearly perfect teeth, despite no access to modern dentistry or even toothpaste. Other early cultures were plagued with tooth decay, even as evidence pointed to some form of rudimentary oral healthcare. It is suggested that these differing cultures and their rates of tooth decay stemmed from diet. Primitive diets high in whole foods and fats seemed to improve tooth health, while those who ate more modernized diets that contained grains, processed ingredients, and agricultural products showed an increase in tooth decay.

Dr. Edward Mellanby, the researcher who discovered vitamin D, studied the role of food nutrients in oral health. He and his wife discovered that tooth growth in the early years of development set the stage for future oral health problems, particularly among young people who did not receive enough vitamins and minerals as their teeth formed. Other researchers took these findings, contributing more evidence to the question of what influences the formation of cavities. Their findings include three major factors:

  • Minerals in the diet reduced the formation of cavities.
  • Fat soluble vitamins like D, A, E, and K also improved tooth health
  • The presence of a chemical compound called phytic acid in foods, which may contribute to an increase in cavity formation.

What is Phytic Acid?

Thomas E. Cooke, D.D.S. explains phytic acid as a naturally-occurring molecule, commonly found in seeds, nuts, and grains. Part of the molecule is comprised of phosphorous, which is bound to the molecule tightly. This reduces the bioavailability of phosphorous, a mineral that contributes to strong and healthy teeth. High amounts of phytic acid in the diet can also prevent other minerals like calcium from being absorbed by the digestive system. Unfortunately, modern diets are often high in this chemical compound, and the rates of tooth decay are rising as a result.

Tooth Remineralization

By taking vitamin D supplements and reducing or eliminating the foods that have high levels of phytic acid, researchers saw that many people in the study showed very few new cavities being formed and in some cases, existing cavities were healing. In effect, this diet remineralized the teeth by making critical tooth-strengthening minerals like calcium and phosphorous more bioavailable. While the science behind this phenomenon is incomplete, the results are promising.

Still, the best way to ensure a healthy mouth is to brush and floss regularly. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once before bedtime. Reducing the intake of sugary foods also helps prevent the formation of cavities. Finally, regular dentist office visits and cleanings can help keep teeth their healthiest. Your family dentist can pinpoint problem areas before decay causes more serious concerns. Schedule an appointment with your family dental professional today!