Tooth enamel is one of those things that most of us rarely think about until it’s gone. Fortunately, as the hardest substance in your body, it’s designed to last a lifetime. Yet, it can erode, and many are surprised to discover that it doesn’t regenerate.
Along with giving your teeth that pearly white sheen that showcases a healthy smile, tooth enamel plays an important role in protecting your teeth from decay. It acts as a barrier to protect the deeper layers of your teeth from acid and plaque and helps minimize sensitivity you would otherwise feel from very hot or cold food.
Although, tooth enamel is made primarily of minerals and is incredibly strong, it can be damaged and even destroyed by a few common habits that many of us have. The following proactive tips can help ensure you’re protecting this very important part of your teeth.
Avoid Hard Candy and Ice Cubes
Chomping on hard foods can cause tooth enamel to chip or crack. While biting down on that piece of ice or candy may be tempting, you’re risking tooth damage. If you do enjoy these hard items, make sure to suck on them instead of biting down. Better yet, avoid them altogether.
Stay Away from Soda (and Diet Soda)
It seems logical that a diet soda would be better for your teeth than one that contains sugar. However, dental erosion also happens in those who consume large quantities of diet sodas. In fact, a study published in General Dentistry showed a similar pattern of dental erosion in avid diet soda drinkers as in drug abusers who use methamphetamine or crack cocaine. The study connected the acid in both soda and diet soda with dental erosion. When enamel eroded from continued soda intake, the study participants teeth became more susceptible to cavities and other dental problems.
Stop Overbrushing Your Teeth
Many of us think brushing our teeth harder means cleaner teeth. But, over time, it really leads to wearing away tooth enamel, as well as gum tissue. The end result is dental decay, the progression of gum disease and finally tooth loss. The best approach to teeth cleaning is gentle brushing with an ultra soft toothbrush that protects gum and tooth enamel.
Time Your Brushing
Besides soda, there are plenty of other foods and beverages that can erode tooth enamel. Yet, brushing your teeth too soon after eating or drinking these items can be damaging by actually brushing the acid into your teeth, rather than getting rid of it. A better approach is to rinse with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait a half hour or so before brushing your teeth.
Saliva is a natural protectant of tooth enamel by rinsing away damaging acid and bacteria. Dehydration causes reduced saliva production which means your teeth aren’t getting the cleaning they need to protect enamel. Along with being beneficial to your overall health, drinking enough water each day is important for protecting your tooth enamel.