Tooth enamel is one of the strongest substances in your body, but it isn’t invincible. This enamel plays a crucial role in protecting your teeth from damage. It’s the forefront of any substance that touches the teeth.
This protection, however, can come at a cost. If you aren’t careful, over time tooth enamel can wear down. Enamel erosion can lead to a variety of problems including stains on your teeth and increased sensitivity.
Unfortunately, enamel isn’t something that can be grown back. Luckily, it is something that can be protected. With the following tips, you can keep your enamel strong.
Avoid Acidic Foods
Acid is one of the fastest ways to tear down enamel. This means that the first way to protect yourself from tooth degradation is to avoid acidic foods. Acidic foods and drinks you might consume often could include:
- Citrus foods and drinks (I.e. orange juice)
- Carbonated sodas
If you do consume food or drink such as this, it’s recommended that you rinse your mouth with water afterward to mediate the effect. It’s also helpful to use a straw when drinking acidic drinks. This helps to push these drinks past your teeth, keeping them away from your enamel altogether. Another acidic treat to avoid is anything sour. Especially sour candies contain high levels of acid.
Dry mouth is often thought of as an annoyance, but it can have negative effects on your enamel as well.
Saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth in balance. If you have a lack of saliva, your mouth isn’t washing away the bacteria and food particles as well as it needs to. Additionally, dry mouth can lead to high acid levels in your mouth which, as just discussed, can lead to enamel degradation.
There are a variety of ways that dry mouth can be treated. Some recommendations call for chewing sugar-free gum between meals as it promotes saliva production. There are also mouthwashes made specifically to treat dry mouth. It’s also helpful to increase the amount of water you drink.
If dry mouth persists, your dentist should be able to help make a recommendation that can help.
Another cause of enamel erosion can be physical damage to your teeth such as grinding your teeth. This can be alarming to some, though, since many people who grind their teeth habitually do so in their sleep.
To help alleviate this, a mouth guard can be an effective choice. This is actually a great choice for two different conditions. Not only can it help protect your enamel, it can also help Bruxism and TMJ.
Brush Your Teeth with Fluoride Toothpaste
Next up, there is one of the most important and expected tips: brush your teeth. To get a little more into the details, use fluoride toothpaste specifically. This is because fluoride is a crucial component of the fight against enamel erosion and tooth decay. In addition to fluoride toothpaste, you can also use fluoride mouthwashes. Dentists also often use fluoride treatments on patients as well.
There is an often repeated myth that you can avoid problems by brushing after every meal. While this is true in part, brushing directly after eating acidic foods or drinking acidic drinks can cause more harm than good.
If you want to avoid enamel loss, the general rule is to wait approximately a half hour to get the most benefit out of your brushing.
One more thing to remember when you’re brushing is that it can cause erosion too. When brushing your teeth, don’t be so vigorous as to cause more damage than your saving your teeth from. If you are especially concerned about brushing your teeth too hard, you can always play it safe and look for a soft bristle brush.
Talk to Your Dentist
If your enamel degradation becomes concerning, your dentist might suggest using a sealant to prevent further erosion. This can also help in slowing the progress of tooth decay. In fact, if you have any concerns about your dental health, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist.
By incorporating the tips we’ve looked at here today, you can keep your enamel healthier for longer. Here’s to happy, healthy teeth for the long haul.