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Remineralizing your Teeth - a Primer on Reversing & Preventing Tooth Decay

Hello all! Happy October! 🎃 🎃 🎃

I have a confession to make......before joining MouthWatchers, I wasn't taking very good care of my teeth. 😬

I slacked off on oral care during college when my course load was crazy, and those bad habits unfortunately carried over, leading to the development of something nobody likes having or getting treated: cavities.

After working at MouthWatchers for a bit, I knew I had to get in for a dentist appointment...I hadn't seen a dentist since high school, so probably at least 6 or 7 years had passed (horrible, I know! 😬). I knew if I didn't get back on track with my oral health it would be contradictory to my work! So I scheduled a dentist appointment, grinned & bared it through fillings, and started my new, tooth-conscious lifestyle.

One thing I learned about at the dentist that I wasn't aware of before is the concept of remineralizing teeth! This process, simply put, is using various products/practices to encourage the strengthening/restoration of enamel, which can help remedy soft spots (areas of weakening enamel that are threatening to become a full-blown cavity) as well as strengthen tooth enamel all throughout the mouth, helping to prevent development of any further tooth decay. I learned at the dentist that I had 1 soft spot, and it was deemed fixable/not needing a filling....yet. So I began working on changes in my oral care to remineralize the tooth/strengthen my teeth overall. Here are some of the steps I took:

Brushing with Fluoride Toothpaste

I know that fluoridation can be a controversial subject (should it be in water, should it not, should we be using it in oral care or not, etc), but when it comes to weakening of tooth enamel (known as demineralization), fluoride is essential. It helps to strengthen/build up enamel, which, over time, can fill in soft spots/prevent further tooth decay. I've been using a spearmint fluoride toothpaste by Spry; it tastes great and I can rest assured that I'm incorporating remineralizing ingredients into my oral care regime.

Flossing Every Night

I have to admit, I am not the best flosser (I went a long time not flossing at all which I'm sure at least partly contributed to the formation of cavities), so this step is one I still struggle with. When I'm getting ready to go to bed, it's already far past my bedtime (any other night-owls out there?), so any and every task before my head hits the pillow feels extra tedious. However, having seen the repercussions to not flossing, and not particularly wanting to get more fillings in my future, I am doing my best to floss each night before I go to bed. Flossing before you sleep is a good time to do it, because otherwise any food debris that is stuck in your teeth/can't be removed by simply brushing will sit there overnight (not good). I've been using this floss by Reach; It can slide in between teeth fairly well since it's waxed, and the mint coating/flavor leaves a pleasant taste after use. Since I'm still working on my flossing technique, I'm ever-thankful for my Dr. Plotka's toothbrush with flossing bristles! I have been using the Youth Yellow recently, as it can reach my back molars really well.

Using a Restoring Fluoride Rinse

Another easy way to prevent tooth decay/remineralize your teeth is using a fluoride rinse as well. Although you may be thinking "Meg, I brushed with a fluoride toothpaste already, isn't this overkill?", hear me out! A rinse coats the teeth and stays there, while toothpaste is mostly removed from the teeth after brushing. using this extra layer of minerals can just act as an extra boost to strengthening weaker teeth, and upping overall defenses for the rest of your smile. I've been using a restoring rinse from ACT. I like that it doesn't have much of that 'burn' sensation other rinses do, meaning I can swish for the full minute I'm supposed to without wincing in pain.

Hydrating

Drinking enough water is essential! Dry mouth isn't good for teeth. Make sure that you get enough water each day; not only does it benefit your skin/body, but it promotes healthier teeth too!

I hope this baby lesson on remineralization was helpful for some of you! Long story short: Use fluoride to strengthen, floss to remove stuck debris, and don't get lazy!

Have a great day,

~Meg