Tooth enamel is the second hardest naturally occurring substance on our planet, next only to diamonds. Most people don’t know, tooth enamel is also the most mineralized substance in the body; it’s 96% minerals! The remaining 4% consists of proteins and water. While minerals make teeth strong, they also contribute to the brittle property our teeth possess.
So teeth need minerals. In fact, when teeth loose minerals, trouble begins. In a process called demineralization, the pH level of the mouth drops below what it should be. Bacteria + sugars and starches = lactic acid… Oh no! This does not bode well for the teeth.
Acidic saliva, over time, makes tooth enamel dissolve. Cavities form. Bacteria invade deeper and deeper as decay grows.
The great bridge that fosters remineralization is fluoride. This naturally occurring mineral, in small doses, attracts other tooth-strengthening minerals, like calcium and phosphate, to remineralize tooth enamel. Of course, once decay begins, only a dentist can remove it and repair the tooth – with a filling or crown. However, in the early stage of pre-decay, when the tooth is only demineralized and bacteria have not invaded to create decay, remineralization could give the tooth a chance at avoiding a cavity.
You know that metal hook some dentists use to poke around on your teeth at checkups? They’re looking for soft spots….which indicate demineralization or tooth decay.
Is it time for your dental checkup? You need one every six months. Do you have a toothache, or would you like to learn more about preventive dentistry? Dr. James Fondriest can give you a smile you’ll be proud to take care of. Call Lake Forest Dental Arts at 847.234.0517 for your appointment or consultation. Dr. Fondriest is a conservative cosmetic dentist who serves patients from the greater Chicago area, as well as the North Shore suburbs of Winnetka, Highland Park, Glenview, Lincolnshire, Grayslake, and nearby towns.