Dental caries is a common problem that affects a vast majority of adults. It is caused by the action of acids on the enamel surface. These acids are produced when sugars in foods and beverages react with bacteria found in the dental biofilm or plaque on the surface of the affected tooth. The acid causes demineralization i.e. it reduces the balance of calcium and phosphate from the enamel[i]. Caries is a preventable and manageable problem. It is also a potentially threatening condition towards your oral health which is why you should act to prevent it in time. This post discusses caries prevention and the role of MI Paste for this purpose. If you are interested to find out more about this recently developed, popular preventive technique please do follow us through what we have to share with you.
How is at risk of developing dental caries?
As we mentioned earlier, dental caries is the term that is being used to describe the process of tooth decay that affects our teeth causing the destruction of the tooth enamel. Dental caries usually develops on the top of the teeth, but it can form in between teeth as well. Knowing that dental caries is caused by the acids which are released in the mouth anytime when we consume sugars and sweeteners, basically, everyone who is consuming sugars is exposed to the risk of dental caries. We are not going to lie – we all do it, we all consume sugars and beverages with added sugars in them although we know how dangerous they really are towards our health. But there are some people who are exposed to a greater risk of developing dental caries as compared with others. For instance, people who are not taking a good care of their oral hygiene is the biggest risk group out there. Then we also have the people who are especially prone to unhealthy diets filled with artificial sweeteners and sugars. Smokers are also at great risk of developing dental caries more commonly than others. Children are another risk group guilty for the high numbers in the occurrence of dental caries. Luckily for us, dental caries is quite the easy problem to be managed using the right preventive and treatment techniques, we just need to know how to use them. Good oral hygiene is the best preventive technique that you have in your sleeve. A healthy diet, regular water consummation and quitting smoking are also quite the beneficial preventive techniques. But have you ever heard about using MI paste to prevent dental caries?
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What is MI Paste?
Minimal Intervention (MI) paste is not a regular toothpaste, but a topical tooth crème that can be applied on a daily basis to protect teeth from caries, damage, and improve overall oral hygiene. This water-based, sugar-free cream comes in a tube just like your favorite toothpaste, making it easier for you to use it and carry it around wherever you go so that you would be able to take care of your teeth and prevent dental caries wherever you are. The paste was developed by GC America, a dental care company that manufactures laboratory products, preventive products, bonding agents, equipment, and others. What makes MI Paste unique is that most toothpaste products on the market revolve around fluoride to keep teeth healthy. That said, strength and health of your teeth also depend on calcium and phosphate. MI Paste contains casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) complex, naturally occurring milk derivates which release calcium and phosphate ions[ii] i.e. it is supposed to prevent caries by remineralization. Once that the MI paste is applied on your teeth, it binds with the present bacteria, plaque, biofilms, and any connective tissue in order to release calcium and phosphate and make the process of remineralization possible. This is also dubbed as the primary mechanism of action that MI Paste takes in order to protect teeth against caries and other problems such as hypersensitivity. Knowing this, the MI paste is considered as an effective and beneficial preventive method for dental caries and many other common dental issues.
Does MI paste really work?
While the popularity of MI Paste constantly grows, you probably wonder if this product really works. This paste has been a subject of multiple studies and they yielded different results. Back in 2008, one study found that MI paste does not exhibit remineralizing effects on early lesions in enamel. That said, slightly less demineralization was observed on MI paste compared to artificial saliva[iii].
A research published in 2011 found that in-office and at-home treatment with MI Paste Plus demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in lesion area compared to participants who did not use this paste[iv].
Two studies from 2017 showed different results. One study found that the use of MI Paste didn’t decrease the enamel lesions[v], while the second research supports the use of MI Paste Plus in mineralization showing a reduction in lesions was statistically high compared to Reminpro Pate[vi]. A study from January 2018, didn’t find improvements in lesions with the use of this product[vii].
As you can see, studies on this subject yielded different results. What does this mean? This means that MI Paste has potential, but more studies are needed for a deep insight into their efficacy.
Despite some studies claiming the use of MI Paste has no impact on enamel lesions, some dentists explain the product can help patients with different dental problems. The paste is water-based and sugar-free. Since it’s a topical product, MI Paste is applied directly onto one’s teeth where it delivers calcium and phosphate in the form of CPP-ACP complex to remineralize i.e. replenish these minerals in order to strengthen user’s teeth. Potential benefits of this paste include[viii]:
- Alleviates dry mouth
- Buffers acids produced by plaque and bacteria
- Conditions protect and rebuild teeth’s surface
- Decreased tooth hypersensitivity, both before and after teeth cleaning
- Helps pregnant women with higher oral acid levels linked with pregnancy, which will reduce the risk of periodontal disease during pregnancy which is highly important, having in mind that periodontal disease poses a risk for preterm labor and low-birth-weight
- Prevention of white spot lesions
- Reduction of oral acid levels
- Topical coating to aid management of caries, erosion
How to apply MI Paste?
The best way to apply MI Paste is to take a pea-sized amount and spread it between thumb and middle finger. Spread the paste inner and outer side of upper and lower teeth. Some people find it easier to use a cotton swab to apply the paste. Wait for three minutes then expectorate (spit) but avoid rinsing your mouth with water to achieve better results by using the MI paste. Also, restrain from any food intake for at least 30 minutes a day. Repeat the same procedure twice a day. Another method of use is to apply a pea-sized amount of MI paste on your toothbrush and use it to brush your teeth for three minutes. Once again, avoid rinsing your mouth after you are done.
The MI Paste is, basically, a cream that promises to strengthen teeth and prevent caries. Coming in its sugar-free form, the MI paste promises to achieve remineralization in order to successfully prevent dental caries and other common oral health issues. Studies show mixed results, but more research is needed to learn more about their efficacy. Dentists say it can help alleviate hypersensitivity, dry mouth, reduce oral acids levels, rebuilt the teeth surface and bring on many other health benefits into one’s life. The paste uses CPP-ACP to work and remineralize teeth. Consult your dentist and see what he or she thinks about this product. Although the usage of MI paste is known to be safe, a professional opinion on the matter is always welcomed.
[i] Dental caries (tooth decay), Dental Health Foundation Ireland https://www.dentalhealth.ie/dentalhealth/causes/dentalcaries.html
[ii] About MI Paste family, MI-Paste http://www.mi-paste.com/about.php
[iii] M. T. Pulido, J. S. Wefel, M. M. Hernandez, et al. The Inhibitory Effect of MI Paste, Fluoride and a Combination of Both on the Progression of Artificial Caries-like Lesions in Enamel. Operative Dentistry 2008 Sep;33(5):550-5. Doi: 10.2341/07-136 http://www.jopdentonline.org/doi/full/10.2341/07-136?code=opdt-site
[iv] Clark SE. Remineralization effectiveness of MI Paste Plus – a clinical pilot study. Iowa Research Online 2011 Spring, https://ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2324&context=etd
[v] Beerens MW, Cate J M ten, Bujis MJ, et al. Long-term remineralizing effect of MI Paste Plus on regression of early caries after orthodontic fixed appliance treatment: a 12-month follow-up randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Orthodontics 2017 Nov. Doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjx085 https://academic.oup.com/ejo/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ejo/cjx085/4637495
[vi] Leila B, Nemati S, Neda H, et al. The effect of MI Paste Plus and Reminpro on incipient caries using DIAGNOdent and SEM: an in vitro study. Journal of the National Medical Association 2017 Autumn;103(3):192-7. Doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2017.02.009 http://www.journalnma.org/article/S0027-9684(17)30025-1/pdf
[vii] Rechmann P, Bekmezian S, Rechamann BMT, et al. MI Varnish and MI Paste Plus in caries prevention and remineralization study: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Oral Investigations 2018 Jan. Doi: 10.1007/s00784-017-2314-9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29299732
[viii] What is MI Paste and how it can benefit my teeth? First Choice Dental http://www.firstchoicedental.com/blog/what-mi-paste-and-how-can-it-benefit-my-teeth