Saliva

Because of its water content and flow rate, saliva physically cleanses the oral cavity of food and debris, removing sources that promote acidity, as well as dilutes and removes organic acids from dental plaque.  Saliva also contains a number of electrolytes and organic molecules that minimize decreases in local pH, creating an environment that favors remineralization. For example, sodium bicarbonate and phosphates, along with other salivary components, act as buffers or neutralizing agents in saliva.19-21 In addition, one salivary protein called sialin tends to raise salivary pH to neutral levels.21 Saliva is also supersaturated with calcium and phosphate ions, increasing the likelihood of remineralization.19,21

Video 3. Remineralization and Fluoride.

To favor remineralization over demineralization, you really need to attack both sides of that equilibrium. Obviously, the most important factor to enhance remineralization is fluoride. It speeds up the process dramatically. That is because of the high level of cation-seeking potential for the element. It is the most electro-negative of all elements and therefore is searching for calcium or cations and it favors the formation or the precipitation of apatite crystals and favors remineralization.

At the same time, you need to also decrease the amount of demineralization; that is the attack that occurs every time we eat a meal, have a snack, drink a coffee with sugar in it or a Coke or whatever. So the best way to do that is (1) reduce the frequency with which we have those attacks, the number of times we snack in a day, and (2) the second factor is improve oral hygiene. The better the oral hygiene the less the amount of damage. There is much more acid produced in an older plaque by a log rhythmic factor as compared to a plaque that is say 12 hours or less of age. So brushing, for example, twice a day, flossing and so on, greatly enhances the potential for remineralization by decreasing the amount of demineralization.