Demineralization: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Enjoying a beautiful smile is more than having straight teeth.

It’s about having a laugh or flashing a grin with teeth that are bright, clean, and healthy.

However, if you’re not careful, you can develop demineralization, a dental condition that can destroy your glowing smile and leave you hesitant in your interactions with others.

Knowing the facts on demineralization is especially important if you’re looking to correct your malocclusion.

As you make decisions on your orthodontic treatment, you’ll want to ensure that you avoid this condition so nothing detracts from your perfectly aligned bite. To prevent long-term problems, here are 5 facts on demineralization you need to know:

1. What Demineralization Is

More than likely, you’re wondering, “What is demineralization?” That’s an important question because the first step to avoiding this problem is knowing what it is and how to spot it.

According to WebMD1, demineralization is the…

“loss of mineral from tooth enamel just below the surface in a carious lesion; usually appears as a white area on the tooth surface.”

In other words, demineralization damages the enamel coating of your teeth. To make sure you’re not suffering from this condition, the next time you brush your teeth, take a moment to look for anything white on your teeth.

2. How Demineralization Happens

If you find white spots on your teeth, your next thought may be how these developed in the first place. DenistryIQ explains how demineralization happens, giving some basics for how you lose that protective layer of enamel:

  • Demineralization occurs in an acidic environment in your mouth.
  • This acidic environment doesn’t contain enough mineral ions relative to the minerals of your teeth.
  • The acids of plaque bacteria begin to dissolve your enamel.

While this may sound like a chemistry lesson, demineralization can have real-life effects on your smile, and here’s why…

3. Why Demineralization and Cavities Go Together

When conditions in your mouth cause demineralization, the consequences can mean more than a few white spots on your teeth. According to ToothIQ2, demineralization is actually the earliest stage of a cavity.

While you may associate dental caries with darkened teeth, yellow decay, and sharp dental pain, the opposite is true. Finding white areas on your teeth is a quicker way to spot decay so you can prevent a larger cavity from forming.

4. Treatments for Reversing Demineralization

There are some treatments for remineralizing your teeth and turning back the clock on the decay.

According to an article found in the International Journal of Nanomedicine, here are some treatments for demineralization:

  • Probiotic bacteria. The article states that probiotic bacteria (you may know it as “good” bacteria) can treat cavities and lists a number of ways to find probiotics, such as dairy products, tablets, lozenges, and more.
  • Electric current treatment. The article also explains how a new treatment for demineralization is on the horizon—remineralization through an electric current.
  • Dental composites. The article states that there are dental composites containing calcium phosphate to help your teeth remineralize.

5. Why Braces Can Lead to Demineralization

While remineralization is possible, your better—and easier—option is protecting your enamel. However, you’ll have a difficult time avoiding demineralization if you choose metal braces.

Perhaps one of the most important facts to know about demineralization is that braces are connected to this kind of unsightly tooth decay.

According to a recently published article in Scientific Reports3, patients with fixed orthodontic appliances (i.e., braces) can experience demineralization. What’s even more surprising, the researchers found that…

a patient’s oral hygiene and dietary behaviours seemed to be irrelevant to the degree of demineralization.”

In other words, your tooth-brushing habits won’t remove your risk for demineralization from braces.

You can still correct your malocclusion and keep your smile cavity free. The key to accomplishing both goals is finding an orthodontic treatment that makes it easy to remove demineralizing plaque from your teeth.

Invisalign clear aligners not only give you a straight smile. They’re also removable so you can easily address any plaque buildup.

Straighten your teeth, and prevent cavities from ruining your new smile. See if Invisalign is right for you when you find your nearest MiSmile provider to schedule your free Smile Evaluation.