Even can’t the tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it demineralizes and weakens over time. Once tooth enamel has worn away, it can’t grow back, which leads to more damage. The safest way to deal with this is to prevent it in the first place. To keep your teeth as strong as possible, follow these simple steps:
Mind Your Diet
Bacteria feed off of the sugar and starch we eat and, in turn, produces enamel-eroding acid which produces cavities. The acids present in soft-drinks, fruits, and tomatoes also weakens the enamel.
Limit your sugar intake to 13 grams a day. Refined carbohydrates like pasta, bread, and chips turn into sugar in your mouth, so it is best to avoid them as much as possible.
Snack Less Often
When your teeth are regularly exposed to sugar and acid, bacteria have more opportunities to grow and spread. If you can’t significantly limit your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake, you should at least limit your snacks.
Use a Straw for Acidic Drinks
Highly acidic drinks include:
- Citrus juice
Always use a straw when drinking acidic beverages to limit the amount of acid your enamel is exposed to. Also, avoid sipping an acidic drink slowly throughout the day. Instead, drink your acidic beverage with a meal and be sure to rinse your mouth with water once you are done.
End Your Meals With Cheese
The casein and whey proteins in many types of cheeses can reduce enamel demineralization. Chewing on some cheese will also stimulate saliva production, which helps to wash away the acid and bacteria.
Use the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Hard toothbrushes damage the enamel. Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush, and watch how much pressure you apply while brushing. Technique is also important – brush in small, circular motions rather than brushing back and forth. Be sure to check your toothpaste ingredients for “glycerin”, which can cause a film to form over the teet. This film can block the minerals from strengthening your enamel.
Use Remineralizing Treatments
The ingredients in remineralizing gels -Calcium phosphate and fluoride – have been proven to strengthen tooth enamel. Most remineralizing gels come in the form of a pen applicator or in trays that you can apply at home.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum can help stimulate saliva production, which washes away bacteria and the acid it creates. However, gum that contains sugar will cancel out this effect when the sugar produces more acid. Look for a sugar-free gum with a natural sweetener, like xylitol, listed as one of the first ingredients.
How to Treat Enamel Loss
Once your tooth enamel begins to erode, you may start feeling sensitivity when you eat sweets or foods that are too hot or too cold. You may also begin to see chips and cracks in your teeth. If the erosion is advanced, you will see little indentations on your teeth- called cupping.
So what can you do if your enamel has already begun to erode? Because enamel is not made up of living cells, it cannot heal. If the erosion is not severe, we can use a treatment called dental bonding to protect the teeth and prevent erosion. In more advanced cases, we use porcelain veneers or crowns to cover the teeth, protecting them, reducing sensitivity, and making them look better.
If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health or are interested in a cosmetic dental procedure, please schedule a consultation at Corne Smith Dentistry