Losing calcium and other minerals from your tooth enamel is called demineralization, and it is a natural process. Tooth enamel is mostly made of a mineral called calcium phosphate, and according to Tufts University, the enamel gains and loses it (among other minerals) every day. How? When the acids produced by bacteria and the food you eat dissolve the minerals, your saliva – which contains small amounts of calcium, fluoride and phosphate – replaces it. However, sometimes the amount of mineral lost is too large to be replaced naturally, often due to consuming sugary foods or poor oral health care in general. You might also experience calcium leeching from the tooth enamel to compensate for calcium deficiency elsewhere in the body. This is typical to osteoporosis sufferers.
Despite this give-and-take, demineralization weakens tooth enamel. As well as raising the risk of cavities, demineralized teeth may be discolored and sensitive as well. Sometimes white spots appear as the first sign of this erosion in the affected areas.