The process of demineralisation and remineralisation is something that occurs throughout the day in everyone’s mouths. Demineralisation is where essential minerals, including calcium and phosphate are removed from the hard, protective layer of tooth enamel. This is the outermost layer of the tooth, and it is essential it is kept strong to protect the tooth from decay. Demineralisation results in this layer becoming weaker and softer, and more susceptible towards decay. One of the first signs that this is occurring can be noticing your teeth are more sensitive towards hot and cold foods, and tooth sensitivity is something we see quite a lot of in our Leeds surgery.
Why Does Demilitarisation Occur?
Every time you eat something then the plaque bacteria present in your mouth will feast on the excess food particles that remain in between your teeth and on your teeth and gums. They produce acid as a by-product which attacks in the enamel layer on your teeth and it’s this action that causes essential minerals to be leached out of the tooth surface. The acid is produced within just a few minutes of eating or drinking, and your mouth is likely to remain acidic for between half an hour and an hour after eating. Demineralisation can also occur as a result of eating foods or drinking liquids that are particularly acidic such as citrus fruits and juices. After a while your mouth will become less acidic as the pH levels return to normal, allowing the second part of the process to occur.
Re-mineralisation of Your Tooth Enamel
Some of the phosphate and calcium ions will remain in your saliva, and as the pH levels return to normal these irons are redeposited into the tooth enamel helping it to re-harden. This is one of the reasons why our dentist at Leeds City Dentalcare may recommend you wait a while after eating and drinking before brushing your teeth. This will allow these essential ions to be redeposited into your teeth, as brushing too soon could mean they are brushed away and are lost forever. Even so it is important to brush and floss every day.
You Can Help Protect Your Tooth Enamel through Having a Great Oral Hygiene Routine
The plaque bacteria on your teeth play a major part in this process of demineralisation and re-mineralisation, as they gradually build up throughout the course of the day creating a sticky biofilm layer over your teeth and gums. This can be removed through regular brushing and flossing and the most essential times to brush your teeth are first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Flossing last thing at night will help ensure you go to bed with a clean mouth. This regime is especially important as the flow of saliva decreases overnight allowing plaque bacteria to build up on the teeth and gums so brushing first thing in the morning and last thing at night will help decrease their numbers.
Visiting our Leeds surgery at regular intervals for check-ups with Dr David Brown and for professional cleanings will also help to protect your tooth enamel. This is because our dental hygienist will remove all the hardened plaque bacteria from your teeth so there will be fewer bacteria to attack your tooth enamel. Our dental team will also be able to check how well you are cleaning your teeth and can give you lots of helpful advice on how to improve your daily routine.