While we often focus on nourishing our skin, hair, and nails, we rarely talk about dental nourishment. Nourishing your teeth is essential because they are the primary tools used for eating, speaking, and even smiling. A healthy set of teeth not only help you enjoy your favourite foods but also boost your confidence and overall well-being. In this, Dr Manikandan GR is Consultant Periodontist, Currently working at Government Urban Dental Clinic, Mannanthala, Trivandrum, Kerala explains the importance of dental nourishment.
Dr Manikandan said, "Neglecting your teeth can lead to problems, such as bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritise dental nourishment as part of your overall health and wellness routine."
Why Nourish Your Teeth?
Your teeth go through a continuous cycle of demineralisation and remineralisation throughout the day. When oral bacteria and food debris combine with saliva, they form a sticky film on the surface of teeth known as plaque.
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Dr Manikandan said, "The plaque bacteria feeds on food particles in the mouth producing an acid by-product that leaches essential minerals from the tooth surface. That is when demineralisation takes place." He said that the removal of vital minerals, like calcium and phosphate that contribute to the strength and hardness of enamel (the tough and protective outer layer of the tooth), weakens it, making it more susceptible to decay.
Demineralisation can make you more sensitive to hot or cold substances, as well as sugary foods and drinks. This is because the enamel becomes porous, and food penetrates the tiny openings, causing sensitivity. This can occasionally result in cavities.
Dr Manikandan said, "Interestingly, our bodies have a natural defence mechanism. Most of the negative effects of demineralisation are cleverly countered by our saliva." He said that saliva serves two purposes. "It first assists in neutralising and removing the acids and sugars that may cause tooth demineralisation. Secondly, it transports calcium and other minerals, like phosphate, consumed through food and drink, to your teeth. These minerals gradually remineralise the enamel," he added.
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However, not every type of oral health issue can be resolved by saliva. Dr Manikandan said, "In severe cases, dentists may prescribe fluoride therapy. Fluoride significantly reduces the rate of tooth decay by protecting the enamel from plaque, but it is even more effective when combined with arginine, which helps improve the speed and success of the natural remineralisation of teeth." Arginine is an amino acid that can be obtained from dietary sources and is found in proteins and peptides in the human body.
How Does Arginine Work on Teeth?
According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, toothpaste containing 1.5% arginine and fluoride has shown superior enamel remineralisation in the early stages of cavities and the rehardening of root surface lesions. Arginine has proven to complement the benefits of fluoride by directly influencing dental biofilm and the pH balance of the mouth. It also has a positive impact on the composition of oral biofilms. This helps arrest demineralisation and improve remineralisation, making dental nourishment truly part of your daily regimen.
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