woman smiling holding a basket of vegetables
Badge field

A revolutionary way to nourish your teeth - Dr Sandesh Mayekar

Published date field Last Updated:


Our teeth are cutting tools, helping us break down food that is needed for the nourishment of the body. But have you heard about nourishing your teeth? Sure, brushing regularly with a toothpaste containing fluoride helps to strengthen our teeth enamel, which as some of us know is the hardest substance in our body. Fluoride helps to maintain the mineral balance of our tooth surface (read: enamel), a very important function, given the daily abuse we put our teeth to. 

Growing up we’ve often heard the saying, ‘eat healthy, to keep your teeth and gums strong’ and what this implies is when we eat healthy fruits and vegetables, we are naturally creating a positive microbiome within our mouths. Alas, if all of us were as disciplined. Dental caries and/or tooth decay is the most prevalent, non-communicable disease worldwide, affecting 60-90% of children and an estimated 2 billion people across the globe. [1]   It involves the loss of tooth mineral because of acids produced primarily by eating sugary foods, leading to weakening enamel and gradually full-blown decayed enamel that result in cavities.

Controlling the intake of sugary foods should solve the problem but ask any mother of a child in the age group 4-16 and she will tell you what a herculean task that is. In fact, it is because global data shows how caries continue to be a daunting challenge, despite the successful introduction of fluoride, that the development and validation of a new technology based upon 1.5% arginine started being discussed within the scientific community nearly a decade ago. [5]

What is arginine and what does it do?

Arginine is an amino acid that helps the body build protein. When introduced in oral hygiene, it creates an alkaline (read: conducive) environment that stops the very production of bad germs, in effect attacking the root cause of dental caries. [6]  It must be noted that fluoride does little to influence this area, i.e. the production of harmful bacteria in dental plaque. If fluoride were the cement that makes the house strong, then arginine is the waterproofing you do to your walls to ensure the rain slides off and leaves no moisture.

Modulating the natural process of de-mineralization and re-mineralization

To be fair, our body is the most powerful tool - as and when the mineral content of our teeth starts to erode, (process called demineralization), our teeth have a natural defense mechanism called remineralization. This involves the deposition of minerals from the saliva back onto the enamel surface, strengthening and repairing any damage that has occurred.  The cycle of demineralization-remineralization is a natural, continuous, and dynamic one that occurs in the mouth. So, then why disturb the natural ecology? Simply because widespread clinical trials are increasingly showing how arginine is a powerful, modulating agent in this whole process. Because of its

[4] WHO: Oral Health – Key Facts

[5]NIH: The development and validation of a new technology based upon 1.5% arginine for everyday use in the prevention and treatment of dental caries

[6] NIH: The impact of an alkasite restorative material: An in vitro study

metabolic activity to promote good bacteria, thereby changing the ph balance within our mouths, its use in fueling mineral gain and calcium deposition (read: nourishment) is key to building stronger teeth.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that arginine-containing toothpaste reduced the number of cavities in children by 50% compared to regular fluoride toothpaste. [7]  Another clinical study conducted among adult male and female subjects in New Delhi showed that a toothpaste containing arginine, calcium carbonate, and fluoride provides greater efficacy in reducing dentin hypersensitivity when compared to a regular toothpaste. [8]

The potential of arginine-based oral intervention cannot be denied and oral care formulations containing arginine for prevention and management of dental caries along with fluoride are the new building blocks of strong teeth for our future generations.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.