How to Remineralize the Teeth
If you have teeth then you should read this!
Mrs Everybody was telephoned by a customer concerned that her well cared for child had dental caries. ‘Is it possible to remineralize the teeth?’ Luckily the customer got the short answer but here is some of Mrs Everybody’s more detailed research and solutions.
Are your own teeth and gums becoming more fragile and needing more attention? Do you have an on going battle with gum disease? Have you got sensitive teeth? Are you teeth eroding near the gum? Or are your children having problems with the teeth such as cavities despite regular cleaning, over crowding etc?
One common cause of troublesome teeth is the lack of mineralization or poor mineralization of the teeth. By reading on you will find out how to remineralize the teeth naturally.
The Teeth are Remineralized from Both the Inside and Outside
- From the inside of the tooth through nutrients in the blood and by having an alkaline blood. For example if the blood is rich in calcium and other minerals and of the optimum pH, the calcium homeostasis mechanism means the minerals can be layed down and stored tissues in the teeth and bones. The reverse, resorption, is also true where minerals are removed from the teeth.
- From the outside with saliva (of the optimum pH) and by carefully chewing nutritious food.
- From the outside by following methods of natural dental hygiene – using mineral clay toothpaste and toothbrush sticks (an anti-microbial tree root) for cleaning the teeth and gum line.
So the focus is on natural oral health and hygiene and diet.
Let us just remind ourselves of the anatomy of the tooth and how minerals and nutrients are deployed in the structure of the teeth.
The Structure of the Teeth and the Potential for Remineralization
The teeth are living tissues and they are supplied with nutrients to the inside by the blood. The blood supply, lymphatic elements and nerves are housed in the pulp, the soft connective tissue component on the inside of the tooth. The nerves help the capillaries to function and sense heat, cold and pressure. The pulp has a consistency of gel and it is enclosed by the root canal. The pulp contains stem and proliferator cells, therefore the pulp can renew itself with correctly differentiated cells. The pulp also creates odontoblasts – dentin forming cells.
The pulp is surrounded by a flexible and energy absorbing material called dentine or dentin and this is nourished by the pulp. Dentin has a sponge-like formation, though more approaching the density of bone. The dentine is crossed by tiny tubules containing dentine fluids and odontoblasts. The tubules communicate with the pulp. Dentine contains stem cells and nerve cells –hence it is sensitive. Collagen type and noncollagen proteins brought by the blood, form odontoblasts, and these go onto to form the dentin. Detine is composed of about 45-50% hydroxylapatite, 30% collagen and 20-25% water. While the teeth are forming from the embryonal and fetal stage and up to puberty, the dentine produces ameloblasts on its outer surface and these are the basic enamel forming cells. Dentine can be renewed as it contains stem cells. Also where enamel cover for the dentine is missing, the outside of the dentine can be re-mineralized with hydroxylapatite crystals. Though it is not as hard as enamel and darker in colour.
In turn dentine is surrounded by the enamel which covers the visible part of the tooth comprising the neck and the crown. The enamel is yellowy or greyish white, shiny and partly translucent. It is initially formed from ameloblasts. Newly formed enamel at the time of tooth eruption is 2.5mm thick but this is worn away through abrasion and dissolved by acids in the mouth.
The actual cells which create enamel, ameloblasts – formed initially by stem cells, secrete enamel proteins which turn into enamel. The enamel is laid down in rods which communicate with the dentin tubules. The rods are partly permeable. Enamel does have a blood supply via the dentin but most dentists consider the enamel to not be renewable as it forms before tooth eruption under the influence of the genes. Also, unlike pulp cells and dentin, enamel can not be synthesized exactly in tissue cultures. Much of the enamel surrounding our teeth is formed prenatally and in early childhood. Once the tooth has erupted above the gum line the ameloblast enamel forming cells have died.
Even if you are no longer a child, it is still possible to improve and strengthen the enamel but only if some of the hydroxylapatite crystals remain to provide the structural framework. Enamel can only be improved by feeding it directly with minerals and nutrients from an external source. i.e. eating real food and brushing with clay and using the toothbrush stick. The newly filled in enamel does not have such an ordered rod structure. With fluoride toothpastes, the fluoride takes the place of hydroxyl ions and forms fluorapatite which is actually harder than natural enamel though it is still eroded by any acids in the mouth and this coating needs replenishing through regular brushing .
Enamel is made up of 90% mineral crystalline calcium phosphate often called calcium hydroxylapatite, (apatite) originally formed from water, and 10% organic materials and proteins. ‘Hydroxylapatite’ is only an approximation, referring to a geological mineral found in nature. In reality many different minerals are involved in healthy tooth and enamel formation such as calcium phosphate, sodium, magnesium, potassium, fluoride, chloride and bicarbonate and these come through a traditional diet and traditional oral hygiene. Enamel is hard but like so many hard substances, brittle. Enamel is not used as an internal calcium source by the body, unlike the other structures of the tooth. Enamel is subject to erosion form acid foods wear and tear and acid forming bacteria and so it is lost more by the environment of the buccal cavity and less directly by diet.
Most scientists accept that the enamel can be improved through synthetic means – since there is a well established natural mechanism of external enamel synthesis – where the saliva brings hydroxyl ions to the apatite on the enamel and it is are transformed into hydroxyapatite. In commercial toothpaste sodium fluoride brings about this transformation, but remember that it will form fluorapatite neither of these surfaces are acid resistant. So enamel can be rebuilt to a degree.
Perhaps we should think of the tooth enamel in western adults as a semi-permanent, ever transforming surface and the rest of the tooth as a mineral bank where the goal is to save minerals for the body for a rainy day!
Beneath the gum line, the outer surface of the tooth root is surrounded by a slightly softer material, more similar to bone than dentin– cementum or cement surrounds the lower part of the tooth protecting the periodontal membrane, (not shown in the diagram) just as the enamel does on the exposed part of the teeth.
Cementum is yellowish in colour and composed of 45-50% of the mineral hydroxyapatite, organic material – collagen, glycoproteins and water. It is softer than dentin or enamel. Cementum absorbs fluoride and other elements well, but it readily demineralises under acid conditions. Cementum contains small amounts of magnesium and sulphur. Cement or cementum is formed by cemetoblasts and it tends to thicken as time goes on so cement rebuilds itself but of course the right conditions must be present.
Cement secures the periodontal dental ligaments (not shown in the diagram) to the tooth and to the jaw bone. Ligaments and tendons are mainly composed of collagen. Collegen is renewed through the synthesis of amino acids.
Both dentin and cementum are mainly composed of a lattice of collagen and a mineral complex often approximated to apatite. Again there are various mineral substitutes especially in the inorganic material. Cementoblasts, the cells which form cementum, are formed initially in the peridontal ligament. Cementum can remodel.
The teeth are seated in the gingiva (gums) and upper and lower jaw bones. Part of the gum attaches with special gingival cells to the teeth too and these cells are delicate. The gingival and dental ligaments hold the teeth securely in position. The gingival are well vasculated and the gums can remodel.
Bone, such as the jaw bone consists of organic matrix apatite and a fibrous protein formed in triple helical spirals – collagen. It is kind of like reinforced concrete! Bone can remodel and by and large the teeth, if they are not too damaged, can remodel as well.
Basic Oral Hygiene
Use natural silk floss and inter-dental sticks as appropriate to remove debris between the teeth, to remove bacteria that feed on the debris and to remove the cause of acid erosion. Rinsing the mouth after eating, even just with water, is also very beneficial.
Brushing the teeth, removes more food debris, plaque biofilms, some tartar or calculus and can help to alkalinize the oral cavity. But you can use brushing to help to rebuild the teeth and surrounding tissues, depending on what you use.
Most people use commercial floss, toothpaste and even commercial mouthwash. But are these commercial products really that beneficial when it comes to remineralizing the teeth, being kind to those delicate gingival attachment cells and supporting overall holistic oral health? Also bear in mind that many commercial dental products are essentially labelled as poisons – read the warnings on the label and you will see what I mean. Google any terms or ingredients which you don’t understand. When I used to use commercial floss I used to get angular chellitis (splits at the corners of the lips) – or perhaps it was the commericial toothpaste. Anyway I don’t get this now I use natural products.
At Natural spa Supplies, we do not advocate the use of standard mouth washes and toothpastes. The chemicals they contain, such as sodium fluoride, or sodium monoflurophosphate, are so strong in our opinion, that they harm the gums, do not provide the most holistic way of mineralization of the teeth. Even with thorough rinsing, some of the product is always swallowed and these strong chemicals can destroy friendly stomach bacteria.
Other chemicals used in toothpastes such as glycerine, block the enamel and prevent mineraliztion; sodium laurel suphate harms the gum tissue, titanium dioxide contains nano particles and they are known to be toxic, and artificial sweeteners confuse the digestive system. It is well to remember that the mouth is the beginning of the digestive system!
Advanced Natural Oral Hygiene
Re-Mineralizing the Teeth with Natural Toothcare
Oral hygiene consists of cleaning the tooth surfaces, the gums, palate and tongue.
You can use natural, products which help to rebuild the teeth and surrounding tissues as you brush or clean your teeth. Besides flossing and using the inter-dental stick, we use two products – the toothbrush stick, or chewing stick (a tree / shrub root) as a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and even tongue cleaner and green clay as a toothpaste and mouthwash with a normal toothbrush and also an ionic toothbrush. We will discuss the wide range of merits of the toothbrush stick and the use of a selected green illite clay.
Toothbrush Sticks (Salvadora persica) and their Role in Remineralisation of the Teeth
The lower incidence of dental caries amongst users of chewing sticks (compared to non-users) has been attributed to the superior mechanical cleansing action on the teeth and to the antimicrobial properties of some of these sticks. The toothbrush sticks are also important in bringing minerals to the teeth and gums. Here are the key properties of the toothbrush sticks.
The toothbrush sticks, also known as miswak, peelu, arak or siwak are the world’s most popular toothbrush, toothpaste and mouth wash. They are recommended by The World Health Organization (WHO) in The Year 2000 Consensus Report on Oral Hygiene.Actually a tree root, they are capable of providing total oral hygiene (though floss is still necessary and sometimes inter-dental brushes are needed too.)
The toothbrush sticks clean off plaque and tartar through mechanical action. In doing so they deposit nutrients on the surface of the enamel which prevent plaque adhering to the teeth – the ‘anti plaque’ quality of miswak. The teeth feel cleaner for longer between tooth brushing and suffer less acid erosion in between brushing.
The toothbrush sticks releases phyto-nutrients such as salicylic acid. This phyto-chemical (plant grown compound) gives pain relief and can be uses to nurture painful and tender gums. Do not use these sticks if you are allergic to aspirin.
Natural phyto-chemicals (plant made chemicals) directly kill Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus, culprits in tooth decay along with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, the major culprits in peridontitis and Porphyromonas gingivalis, the main bacteria in gingivitis. Other bacteria in the mouth have been related to heart disease, Alheimers, stroke and diabetes. So oral hygiene is vital to good health overall.
Reduces colonies of candida albicans.
In 1992 Gazi et al. in their paper, the immediate and medium-term effect of using meswak on the composition of mixed saliva, reported that miswak produced significant increases in calcium (22-fold) and chloride (6-fold) … Saturation of saliva with calcium inhibits demineralization and promotes remineralization of tooth enamel, whereas high concentration of chloride inhibits calculus formation and removes stains from the teeth.
High in Relevant Minerals and Compounds
Some 27% of the root is composed of minerals which are essential for healthy tooth and bone formation. These include calcium and phosphorus.
Beside these important minerals, the stick contains the most restorative element in dentistry – natural plant made fluoride or around 1.0 μg/g (that is one-millionth of a gram per gram) of total fluoride. We can be assured that is a safe level, otherwise the plant itself would have died and most plants contain similar background levels of fluoride! Once the enamel has thinned with general wear and tear or through acid decay, fluoride is used in the replacement or repair of missing enamel. We prefer the plant source. Only some of the fluoride present in miswak is soluble. Natural flouride is the fastest and safest fix for poor quality dental enamel.
Salvadora persica, the toothbrush stick, contains concentrations of sulphur (an natural anti-bacterial), Vitamin C (for tissue healing and repair) Tanins are also present which have an astringent effect, reducing plaque formation as well as plant sterols which have an anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing effect.
The salvadora persica plant also produces concentrations of sodium bicarbonate – a mild abrasive and mild germicide.
The toothbrush sticks contain natural resins help to coat the surface of the teeth protecting from caries.
Salvadorine, always present in these toothbrush sticks, is a natural bactericidal and salvadorine stimulates the gums.
Bitter tasting essential oils which help induce saliva flow which buffers the pH of the saliva. Steam-distilled salvadora persica oil is composed of 10% benzyl nitrate and 90% Benzylisothiocyanate (BIT). BIT being investigated by scientists for its anti-carcinogenic action on target sites and ability to kill Herpes Simplex I.
High in silica
The plant contains high levels of silica (a natural abrasive to remove staining from the teeth) Polishing the teeth not only makes them shine, but again makes it more difficult for bacteria and stains to get a foothold. However you brush your teeth, do not over polish because you will wear the enamel away.
Miswak contains plant based saponins – nature’s own detergent. The use of miswak is known across the Arab world to make the teeth ‘white and shiny.’
Scientists are starting to develop medicines from this amazing shrub to treat eye ulcers. I am not sure how the toothbrush sticks stack up with mouth ulcers, but in my own experience, commercial toothpaste and mouthwashes along with a high metal load in the tissues of the mouth (from fillings) contribute to mouth ulcer formation. So it is good to try natural alternatives to see it that helps.
So you can see that the toothbrush stick performs a key role as it has so many relevant properties. To get the maximum benefits , use the toothbrush stick 2-5 times per day or when the flavour in the mouth changes (usually this is a sign that acids are building up.)
Sterilizizes the gum line
Once the bristles have formed on the toothbrush stick and they are soft enough, you can bite it gently to release more sap and take the bristles (gently) along the gum line to aerate them (many anaerobic bacteria live under the gum line and they prefer life with very low oxygen levels) Cleaning the gum line also deposits some of the antimicrobial sap and saliva into the spaces. This in my opinion is one of the greatest virtues of the toothbrush stick – the ability to easily and effectively clean the gum line. most adults have clean teeth, but ongoing trouble with the gums.
The great thing about the toothbrush stick is that it is fully portable and toothbrush stick tooth brushers are liberated from the bathroom!
Ultra Ventilated Green Clay Toothpaste and Mouth Wash
This is an ultra fine ‘air graded’ clay powder – Just add water and hey presto you have toothpaste. It is best to make up a small batch in a glass jar so it doesn’t dry out. Just add boiled water and stir until it attains a butter consistency. The clay is also more active and detoxifying if it has been hydrated for 4 hours and you might need to add a little more water at this stage. You could add other liquids or powders to your toothpaste such as colloidal silver, dissolved sea salt, etc. You do need to stick to small pots, made every few days because the number one rule in cosmetic formulating is that if you add water (even boiled) you need to add preservatives, but preservatives, by their strong oxidizing nature are not nice for the gum tissues. So it is best to make the clay in small batches so that you can keep it completely natural. Close the pot between uses.
Do not over scrub with the clay. Over scrubbing wears enamel away and harms the gum tissue causing gum recession. Many people are in a bad habit of brushing their teeth too enthusiastically.
You could also make a clay slurry to use as a detoxifying mouth wash or to use instead of oil pulling.
What are the benefits of brushing the Teeth with Green Clay?
Our chosen clay by Argiletz is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, silicon and trace elements, mostly in the form of oxides. These are some of the favourite minerals of the bones and teeth. So brushing brings essential minerals to the tooth enamel and gum tissue. While brushing the teeth with clay, in the presence of saliva, the enamel will start to remineralize. I often use the green clay at night before going to bed. I use it with a natural boar bristle wooden toothbrush.
With a pH of about 7.0, this clay helps to neutralized acids in the mouth.
Clays have anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacteria properties.
Absorbs heavy metal toxins such as mercury which also gets into the gum tissue. Don’t worry the clay won’t disturb fillings, but it does reduce heavy metal toxicity in the mouth cavity.
Absorbs the fluids of swelling improving the comfort of the gums.
Good mechanical cleaning properties with a low index of abrasivity.
Low taste and aroma – quite nice if you want to brush your teeth before breakfast and be able to get the right taste and flavours from your food afterwards!
Other Ideas! Brushing without Toothpaste with a Light Activated Ionic Toothbrush
Use an ionic toothbrush. By using light as its power source the ionic toothbrushes send a charge into the saliva which changes the polarity of the teeth. There are no batteries it is powered by light and your saliva. As a result, the bacteria are electronically ejected from the tooth surface. There are no moving parts on this toothbrush as in my opinion electric toothbrushes with moving heads bash up the gums and cause gum recession. The best thing about the ionic toothbrush is that no toothpaste is necessary and only gentle gum friendly movement is required. All you are doing is moving the charged saliva around the mouth. However the ionic toothbrush does not especially bring minerals to the enamel apart from those which are present in the saliva.
Which ever method you use – be gentle! Many people cause gum and enamel wear by over zealous cleaning. What does matter is regular gentle cleaning to remove acid forming plaque, to clean the gum line and regular remineralisation opportunities. The teeth are the only parts of the body which are as it were are in a constant state of decay. However there is much you can do to slow this process down and to some extent to repair some inevitable damage.
Citation for the tooth anatomy image, Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762.