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Can You Strengthen Existing Tooth Enamel?

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As a person ages, enamel tends to naturally thin due to the wear and tear of chewing and the mechanical actions of brushing. Enamel can also break down because of bruxism, acid reflux, or even certain medications. Whatever the cause, if you have thinning enamel, you may be wondering if there is something you can do to strengthen it. While your body cannot generate new enamel, you can fortify existing enamel through remineralization and supportive procedures. Read on to learn more.

Why is Thinning Enamel a Problem, and How Can Remineralization Help?

Thin tooth enamel can be both a cosmetic and functional issue. Thin enamel can have white or brown spots, as well as tiny grooves and pits. Some people with thin enamel may develop sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures. When enamel is thin, it can leave a person open to cavities or even microfractures from chewing forces. Thankfully remineralization processes help to combat these issues.

Remineralization is a natural process where your body takes phosphate, calcium, and other minerals from your saliva and deposits them in your teeth. These minerals help to form a compound called hydroxyapatite, which strengthens enamel and protects your teeth against plaque.  

How Can You Support Remineralization at Home?

If your mouth is too dry, then the remineralization process may be disrupted. You can improve saliva flow and remineralization by avoiding acidic foods and by staying hydrated. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help the remineralization process since this gum contains contain xylitol, a sweetener that can help increase saliva flow and reduce cavities.

Sometimes the remineralization process is disrupted because your body isn't getting adequate nutrients. Your dentist can recommend supplements, like calcium tablets, which can help you get the nutrients you need if your diet is deficient in certain areas.

Lastly, you should ask your dentist for toothpaste recommendations. You should be getting the right amount of fluoride in your toothpaste, since this naturally occurring mineral supports remineralization.

How Can Your Dentist Help?

Your dentist can improve the remineralization process with in-office fluoride treatments. There are also non-fluoride remineralizing agents, such as arginine and theobromine, which your dentist can apply to your teeth. Many of these treatments are topicals that your dentist can apply to your teeth. Some of these topicals dry on their own, while others might need to cure under a light source for the ingredients to activate. If you have a thin enamel that isn't improving with these treatments, your dentist might recommend dental bonding, where he or she places tooth-colored resin in weakened areas. Some people may opt for veneers if only the anterior portions of their teeth are thin and/or have cosmetic issues.

Reach out to a dentist's office, such as Smile Solutions LLC, to learn more.