Can you re-mineralize/grow/repair your tooth enamel?
November 16, 2017 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Googling this seems to provide conflicting answers. Would like fellow mefites' thoughts on my question. If you believe you can grow/repair/remineralize tooth enamel, links or product names would be appreciated.

If it matters--the biting surface of one back molar is sensitive, mostly to acids. Dentist says no cavities, the enamel there on the biting surface is just very thin. He said to rub a little Sensodyne there, but I'm not sure if that is repairing anything or just a bandaid. I would like to avoid a crown if I can repair it.

Yes, you are not my dentist, blah blah
posted by luvmywife to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Sensodyne Repair + Protect with Novamin! You have to get it from Canada or Europe but this is a true remineralizing agent. They do sell this toothpaste in the US but the Novamin is no longer in it (I don't know why; GlaxoSmithKline bought the patents in 2012 and it disappeared from the US market). So you have to get it from abroad.
posted by Aubergine at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2017 [7 favorites]

Seconding Sensodyne with Novamin. You can get it on Amazon, just make sure to check the ingredient list before you buy.
posted by ball00000ns at 2:54 PM on November 16, 2017

Use a mouthwash with Fluoride. (I like the Listerine Naturals.) My dentist suggested it for remineralization years ago, and after daily use since then, i don't even remember where the demineralized stuff was on my teeth.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 3:22 PM on November 16, 2017

There is a theory that the glycerin in toothpaste coats the tooth and prevents natural remineralization by the minerals in saliva.

I had sensitive teeth for many years. I used many brands of sensitivity toothpastes. They all use potassium nitrate as an active ingredient. They did work for sensitivity, but as soon as I ate any acidic food, like fruit, I again had sensitivity that lasted for many days.

I started brushing with soap (there are many brands, I like this one). After a week or two I could eat fruit, pickles, sauerkraut, that I could never eat before. I have been brushing with soap for many years-no more sensitivity!
posted by H21 at 3:32 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

My dentist recommends Tooth Mousse. It's made a measurable difference to my wife's teeth.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:32 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

+1 to yes, this is A Thing. I get a prescription toothpaste from my dentist, and also a tooth powder that seems pretty awesome, though I haven't been using it long enough to know whether it's working. I also get fluoride varnish treatments at my dentist, and they use a brand that has minerals in addition to fluoride in it, and it's made a big difference - from one treatment to my next X-rays, I went from 5 potential cavities being watched (but likely needing fillings) to two. So worth it.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 3:39 PM on November 16, 2017

Fyi, flouride makes a chemical bond with tooth enamel. Try to brush a little longer, maybe wait before spitting, as the direst contact is most effective.
posted by theora55 at 3:50 PM on November 16, 2017

Can you re-mineralize/grow/repair your tooth enamel?

This is exactly what fluoride does.
posted by zippy at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

NovaMin has been found to remineralize as good or better than fluoride "with less toxic effects compared to fluorides".

Better than fluoride

As good as fluoride "with less toxic effects"
posted by GregorWill at 5:54 PM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's also silver diamine floride, which can stop decay without drilling.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:13 PM on November 16, 2017

US but the Novamin is no longer in it (I don't know why; GlaxoSmithKline bought the patents in 2012 and it disappeared from the US market)

It’s because when a food/drug product makes specific claims (such as “NovaMin repairs/rebuilds tooth enamel”) the FDA tends to get involved and have the manufacture prove the claim.

Now the FDA never officially ruled that NovaMin doesn’t work, but neither did GSK put in the effort to prove the claim to the FDA’s satisfaction. It could be they think the US market isn’t worth the hassle of FDA approval. But it also could be they can’t back it up.
posted by sideshow at 10:34 PM on November 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Things that helped my rubbish enamel (decayed after frequent contact with stomach acids and brushing straight afterwards - pro tip, just rinse, wait an hour with brushing):

- GC Mousse: I used it for over a year. It says "leave undisturbed for 3 minutes", but my dentist's instructions were to spit after 5 minutes and then don't drink or eat anything for 15 minutes, half an hour is better.
- Sensodyne or Elmex enamel protection toothpaste
- gentle flosses - look for the expanding kind
- lifehack: after you brush, spit out toothpaste and maybe rinse once to get the foam out. Don't gargle, don't move the water around in your mouth. Leave the toothpaste coating the teeth in place. Takes a while to get used to, but it gives the remineralising toothpaste time to work until the next time you eat or drink something.

End result: I can eat most stuff and no longer have 6 cavities a year...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:11 PM on November 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

This Japanese toothpaste that has the same ingredient as the British Sensodyne with novamin (nanohydroxyapatite). And so far has been cheaper than the good Sensodyne.

It works very well.
posted by monopas at 11:55 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Learned about NovaMin through here, previously had exactly the type of sensitivity you're describing (usually fine, but if I eat a lot of citrus, ouch). Been using Repair + Protect for two weeks now with ZERO sensitivity. Can even eat sour patch kids again, not that I'm going to make a habit of that.

Had zero success with toothmousse or high fluoride toothpaste.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:11 PM on November 17, 2017

I live in Canada and have sensitive teeth. I swear by Sensodyne. I didn't know about Novamin, but I just checked the tube in the bathroom, and it's there in the ingredients (listed as "NovaMin").

Since I know how sensitive teeth can be, I'll make this standing offer to all MeFites, worldwide: if you'll pay for it + shipping (no handling!), I'll send it to you. The drug store and post office are at the same location, and close to me, and I'll feel relief at the thought of helping someone with this.

I just checked and found one tube going for 14 USD. My drug store's site says that they sell the same for 7 CAD, which makes much more sense.

MeMail me any time! If I go down for international toothpaste trafficking, so be it.
posted by vert canard at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

Please note also that not all fluoride is created equal. Stannous fluoride is good, though maybe not as good as NovaMin (I've seen conflicting studies), but sodium fluoride is not as helpful at the concentrations found in regular toothpaste. Personally, switching to stannous fluoride has made a big difference for me, as a person with lifelong dental sensitivity issues.
posted by karbonokapi at 6:28 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

FWIW Sensodyne + NovaMin is available in Australia as well.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:08 PM on November 20, 2017

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