What is decalcification?
Decalcification simply means loss of calcium from teeth.
What causes decalcification of tooth enamel?
Bacteria found in dental plaque will convert carbohydrate and sugars into acids. This acidic condition will cause minerals to leach out from enamel. It is also known as decalcification. High-sugar diets, lack of good oral hygiene practices are the main factors that contribute to decalcification of tooth enamel.
What are the signs of tooth decalcification?
Have u ever noticed white spot lesions on your tooth surface? White spot lesions are the first visible sign of tooth decalcification. They appeared white because water will replace the leached enamel minerals causing them to appear “white” or “opaque”.
What are the other causes of white spot lesions?
White spot lesions are also seen in patients:
- With fluorosis (Excessive usage of fluoride during tooth development)
- Disturbances during enamel development (Enamel hypoplasia and enamel hypomineralisation).
- Enamel hypoplasia: Thin enamel but hard in texture.
- Enamel hypomineralisation: Thick enamel but soft in texture.
What will happen if decalcification continues?
If decalcification continues, white spot lesions will get darker in color and eventually turn into a cavity. This process is not reversible and your dentist might need to restore it with a filling.
What can I do to reverse decalcification?
1) Consult a dentist whether your white spot lesions are due to tooth decalcification or other reasons. Get a professional scaling done to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth.
2) Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent plaque buildup. Identify areas which are missed out during brushing by using plaque disclosing agents/solutions. It is worth to remineralise your teeth than allowing it to progress into a cavity. It is easy to get a tooth restored but complications such as discolored, chipped off restorations, secondary caries can occur if you do not maintain them well.
3) Apply recaldent to reverse decalcification.
Recaldent (Casein Phosphopeptide) is a milk derived product that delivers calcium and phosphate in solution to the tooth to replace leached enamel minerals. Nowadays recaldent are available in products such as sugar free gum (Trident XtraCare with Recaldent), professional tooth crème (GC Tooth Mousse, MI Paste and MI Paste Plus) and dairy milk (Meiji Milk)
Instructions for self application of professional tooth crème:
1 .Use a dry finger or cotton tip to apply sufficient amount of tooth crème to upper and lower teeth. You can also use interproximal brush or dental floss coated with tooth crème to reach difficult areas.
2 .Leave tooth crème on teeth undisturbed for minimum of 3 minutes.
3 .Use your tongue to spread the remaining tooth crème throughout your mouth and leave them as long as possible for better results.
4 . Use fluoride therapy to promote remineralisation.
Click here to read more on fluoride and its action.
Please consult your dentist before consuming any form of fluoride supplements to prevent excessive usage of fluoride.
5 Change your diet.
You can try to reduce your daily sugar consumption. This is because bacteria in dental plaque use sugar as a form of energy, converting them into acids and decalcify our teeth. You can try to consume more food such as milk and cheese. Milk and cheese are high in calcium and teeth and they are believed to strengthen our teeth. Besides that, cheese promotes more saliva to flow thus neutralizing acids which are produced by bacteria.