The two most important things to take care of for a happy old age are your money and your teeth. Without getting too deep into the science behind human biology and mineral absorption, the bottom line is that teeth need minerals to grow and live, and we get---or lose---minerals from our diet. Our modern diet means we regularly consume mineral-deficient foods that are highly processed and often too acidic. When asking how to remineralize teeth, diet and oral health habits are 90% of the battle. With proper diet, a good toothpaste and rinse and regular dental care, remineralization is achievable.
What Does It Mean To Remineralize Your Teeth?
Teeth lose minerals over time due to exposure to bacteria, saliva, food, drink and neglect. Most of us accept tooth decay as a normal part of aging, but you have some influence and control over how your teeth function as the years pile up.
Questions To Ask When Wondering How To Remineralize Teeth
The first question you should ask yourself is how your diet relates to your tooth health. If you eat a lot of sugar and dairy products, it will have a lasting impact and make your decision on how to remineralize your teeth harder. Giving up sugar (except for special occasions) and limiting dairy (especially milk and yogurt) will help immensely. Since sugar is an optional food item that adds no nutrients but only improves taste, giving it up will only improve your health and the state of your teeth and gums. There are traditional dairy products, or you may opt for lower-acid alternatives, like almond or soy milk, and yogurt is easily replaced with soy or coconut types.
Stopping Daily Tooth Damage: How To Remineralize Your Teeth With Daily Habits
When considering how to remineralize teeth, daily habits are key. If you forgo sugar, for example, do a trial run to see what effect it has on your oral health. Two easy daily habits to change are your toothpaste brand and sugar consumption. Try a three-week trial in which you use only the best toothpaste (more on that later) and eliminate sugar from your diet. A little honey is OK for taste on oatmeal or in coffee, but don't consume sugary desserts, coffee drinks or sodas.
How To Remineralize Teeth On A Budget
The great thing about tooth remineralization is that the path forward does not require dental care or fancy products, just common sense and a willingness to change your lifestyle. Tooth health correlates with overall health, so the changes you are making when learning how to remineralize teeth never hurt. Changing toothpaste won't cost much, and replacing dairy and high-acid foods (often meats) with more alkaline foods shouldn't break the bank. Fruits and vegetables are affordable, and cutting out major sources of sugar (Starbucks, donuts, cookies, etc.) will save money.
How To Remineralize Teeth Quickly
The quickest way to oral health is to follow these suggestions, listed from one to eleven, as quickly as possible. The more you implement, the more your teeth will thank you. But to be realistic, when considering how to remineralize teeth, it's best to implement the easiest steps first. Numbers 5, 6 and 9 on our list are simple and cheap.
Why Do Your Teeth Lose Minerals
Exposure to an acid environment is the basic issue that underlies the loss of tooth enamel and therefore, begins the demineralization process. Tooth decay occurs mainly in the form of cavities (holes in the tooth), and these are preventable, especially if you take preventive action before professional dental care is necessary.
Poor Dietary Absorption: How To Remineralize Teeth With Diet
Eating a diet high in minerals will help the body absorb and use minerals. Key foods include: root vegetables, such as sweet potato, beets, turnip, potato and carrots. Slow-growing vegetables, like cabbage, are excellent sources of minerals and help keep the body alkaline. Greens of all kinds, including easy-to-incorporate spinach and lettuce, are great sources of minerals. Frozen greens are just as mineral-rich as fresh, so choose convenience to help yourself learn to remineralize teeth through diet. We recommend at least 6 cups of mineral-rich vegetables each day.
Food Combinations To Avoid
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Processed starches tend to cling to teeth and accelerate tooth decay when combined with sugar. This is especially important because sugar is often combined with starches in cakes, cookies and other baked goods. The amount of fermentation from the sugar is increased in the presence of starch, so if you're eating rice or bread, use a fat rather than a sugar to improve taste. Another destructive combination is sugar in the form of liquid whether fruit juice or soda. Sugary beverages tend to coat the teeth. Fruit acids create calcium chelation which binds with calcium and decalcifies the tooth.
High Acid/Low Alkaline Environment: How To Remineralize Teeth through Balance
Modern diets are high-acid diets, rich in dairy and meat products. Eating fewer dairy products and limiting portions of meat while covering your plate with more veggies will help your teeth because it balances the acid/alkaline ratio in your mouth and the rest of your body. Continue to eat meals that are balanced in carbohydrate and protein, but choose nuts, peanuts, beans and coconut for protein sources more often. Meat and fish are good protein sources because they are mineral- and nutrient-dense, but portions should be limited because muscle meats are acid-forming. (Also, less meat is good for the environment.)
How To Remineralize Teeth Through Habit Change
Changing oral health habits is easy compared to changing your diet. Our foods are closely tied with our family traditions, celebrations and emotions. Focus on the positive, like adding vegetables for health and fruits for flavor, rather than the negative, and you will have more success. Negative food changes include, "I can't eat cake." A positive attitude sounds more like, "I can eat whatever fruits I like every day." Practice positive focus and empowerment rather than deprivation and loss.
How To Remineralize Teeth: 11 Simple Steps
1. Create An Alkaline Environment
Alkaline is in, and acid is out. Creating an alkaline environment is easy using some of the suggestions below, but in general, limit dairy and meat, eat lots of veggies, avoid concentrated sugars and limit stress. A great way to do all these things is to add veggie and fruit smoothies to your daily routine.
2. Limit Fruit Juices And Sugary Sodas
Drink water, and avoid soda when possible. Definitely scrap the habit of Starbucks, if you can. As a treat, it's okay, but a treat is once a month or less. Don't buy soda or keep it in the house. Limit or dilute fruits juices, and rinse or brush after drinking when possible.
3. Eat Eight (Servings of Veggies) A Day
Be creative. Spinach has zero flavor when combined with strawberries in a smoothie. Cook large batches, use frozen veggies and spice things up. If you get eight, you are way ahead of most Americans. Vegetables are high in minerals and healthy in every respect.
4. Increase Saliva Flow
Saliva prevents dry mouth and is associated with better tooth health. Saliva flow can be improved with some rinses and will improve as you alter your diet and toothpaste. Talk to your dentist about gum health, which can be related to saliva flow.
5. Change Your Toothpaste
The best toothpaste is glycerin-free and includes fluoride. Glycerin creates a tooth coating that feels good but adds a barrier that slows down the absorption of minerals. Flouride protects tooth health, as shown in multiple peer-reviewed studies.
6. Use Xylitol
This alternative sweetener is calorie-free, has a decent taste and is often found in toothpaste. Go for the gold, and find a toothpaste with fluoride, without glycerin and with xylitol, or just add the x-sweetener to tea and coffee in place of sugar.
7. Get Sunshine Or Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D improves overall tooth health. If you live in a sunny climate, your best chance for absorption is midday, between 11 and 1. If you live in a less sunny climate, take a supplement, and have your blood levels checked regularly. Vitamin D deficiency is common in Americans.
8. Avoid The Starch + Sugar Trap
Save cakes, donuts and pastries for special occasions. They aren't healthy overall and may be more fun when not eaten regularly.
9. Practice Tongue Scraping
Tongue scraping reduces bacteria and is easy to do. Get a tongue scraper, or use a spoon to remove that icky tongue film every day.
10. Do An Oil Pull
By swishing some coconut oil around in your mouth for about ten to fifteen minutes, you will help reduce bacteria. After this treatment, spit the oil into the trash (not your sink, it's bad for your pipes), and do not rinse the mouth right away.
11. Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day (Or More)
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Brushing your teeth never goes out of style. Spend at least a full minute brushing, and treat yourself to a powered tooth brush to improve effectiveness.
You have a lot of control over your dental health, and a few minor habit changes will reap huge rewards. Try a few from the list and see how you feel in just a month of two. If you can only pick two, we recommend #1 and #11 for the most dramatic improvements.