Enamel is the name given to the shiny outer surface of a tooth. The purpose of enamel is to help protect the tooth from decay. Over time, some natural wearing away of this coating will occur, but there’s much you can do to help keep your tooth enamel strong. Here are nine simple steps to take to keep your enamel strong.
1. Beware of Sugar
Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. They feed on it and make acids that soften and erode your tooth enamel. Avoid candies, especially the kind that stick to your teeth, and sugary soft drinks and sodas. Be aware that artificial sweeteners and many brands of flavored water are acidic. The wisest choice – a large glass of unflavored water.
2. Eat Foods That Contain Calcium
Calcium helps to counteract the acids that cause tooth decay. Dairy products such as cheese and milk are all good for your teeth. If you are weight conscious, choose low-fat or fat-free products. If you don’t eat dairy, there are plenty of other calcium-rich foods.
3. Watch How You Brush
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing too hard and too fast. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and brush using short, gentle strokes. After eating acidic or sugary food, wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. Acid can soften your enamel and make it easier for brushing to damage it.
4. Use Fluoride
The American Dental Association (ADA) regards fluoride as nature’s natural cavity fighter. Fluoride helps to keep your enamel strong, repair the early stages of tooth decay, and make your teeth more resistant to acids. The ADA recommends using a fluoride toothpaste on your child’s teeth as soon as that first baby tooth appears. Rinsing with a mouthwash containing fluoride is also a good idea.
5. Avoid a Dry Mouth
Saliva helps wash away acidic food and harmful bacteria in your mouth. Drink water throughout the day to keep your mouth clean and moist. When exercising, make sure you rehydrate during and following your workout. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum can help keep saliva flowing. Be aware that some medical conditions and medications can cause dry mouth.
6. Stop Grinding Your Teeth
Some people grind their upper and lower teeth together, especially while asleep. If you are a grinder, be aware that over time you will wear down your enamel. Ask your dentist about getting a custom-fitted mouthguard. You can also get mouth guards from department stores such as Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.
7. Treat Eating Disorders and Heartburn
Bulimia is an eating disorder in which people induce vomiting after eating. If you experience severe heartburn, acids may eventually end up in your mouth. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
8. Beware of Chlorine
High levels of chlorine in swimming pools will make the water overly acidic, which can damage your tooth enamel. Check where you swim to make sure the pool’s chlorine levels are regularly checked.
9. Get Regular Dental Checkups
To keep your enamel in good shape, visit your dentist every six months. Your dentist can spot signs of trouble before major damage occurs. If you live in the vicinity of Mt. Pleasant, Old Mt. Pleasant Dentistry is a family dental practice that will help you keep your enamel strong. So, to keep that winning smile, book an appointment with us today.