Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body -- even stronger than bone -- it’s still susceptible to tooth decay when exposed to acids in the mouth. Because enamel is composed of mainly calcium phosphate, a calcium-rich diet is essential during tooth development. Fluoride strengthens teeth by replacing some of the phosphorus in enamel. While there is no evidence that taking calcium supplements rebuilds the teeth, certain forms of calcium applied directly to the teeth can strengthen and repair enamel and enhance the beneficial effects of fluoride.
Amorphous Calcium Phosphate
Amorphous calcium phosphate, or ACP, helps prevent the breakdown of tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay. It also repairs enamel by stimulating recalcification. Because calcium phosphate attracts fluoride, ACP increases the amount of fluoride that can get into the enamel, boosting its resistance to tooth decay. Because of its restorative effects on tooth enamel, ACP can also reduce tooth sensitivity.
ACP is an ingredient in some fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses, chewing gums and lozenges. Professionally applied products with ACP include tooth-whitening systems, fluoride varnishes, in-office cleaning paste and treatments to help with sensitive teeth. ACP may be incorporated into dental materials used for orthodontic treatment or for restoring decayed teeth.
Cheese and Teeth
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that certain cheeses -- including aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and Monterey jack -- help protect the teeth against cavities and promote enamel repair, especially when eaten alone or at the end of a meal. These cheeses stimulate saliva flow, washing away food residue and cavity-promoting bacteria. They also contain large amounts of calcium and phosphorus, which protect against acids in the mouth and promote enamel repair.