The surface of your teeth is called enamel. It helps protect them from decay. While some wear and tear is normal, there’s plenty you can do to keep that barrier strong. We recommend these simple steps for a healthy mouth and a winning smile.
Limiting Sugary Foods and Drinks
This is the one the tip you’ve probably been hearing all of your life – and for good reason! Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar from foods and drinks. Afterwards, they make acids softening and wearing away your enamel.
For the best enamel protection, stay away from sugary consumables such as candy, soft drinks (which may have extra acids), donuts & sugary pastries, coffee with sugar and cream, and other items that fit the description.
Soft drinks with artificial sweeteners are a smarter choice than ones with sugar, but they’re also acidic and will wear down enamel over time. Coffee by itself is acidic as well, although the degree of its acidity depends on the way the coffee was made itself. Many flavored waters are acidic as well.
The best choice when you’re thirsty? A glass of plain water, but talk to your dentist about how you can best moderate your intake of sugary and acidic foods.
Brushing Too Hard
Remember when mom and dad asked “Did your brush your teeth?” What about when they asked “Did you brush your teeth too hard?” They probably didn’t ask the latter, but it can certainly be damaging over time!
You can actually wear down your enamel if you brush too fast and hard. Hold a brush with a soft bristle at about a 45-degree angle to your gums. Then move it back and forth in short, gentle strokes, about the distance of one tooth. It’s an easy habit to get into. You don’t have to give up or add anything, just slightly change what you’re already doing!
Wait for up to an hour after eating sweets or citrus fruits before you brush your teeth. Acidic foods can soften enamel and may make it easier for you to damage it.
Called “nature’s cavity fighter” by the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride can strengthen your enamel. It can even help repair the early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride also makes your teeth more resistant to acids that come from foods and bacteria in your mouth.
Talk to your dentist about using fluoride toothpaste to help with the aforementioned. Rinsing with a mouthwash that has fluoride can also help prevent cavities and keep your enamel strong.
Swimming Pools & Chlorine
If you’ve ever swam in a chlorinated pool, you probably felt a slight eye irritation that lasted hours later if you didn’t wear goggles. When swimming pools aren’t chlorinated properly, the water may become too acidic. If that happens, the water can also damage teeth that get wet. Check with the recreation center or gym where you swim to make sure the pool’s chlorine levels are checked regularly. While swimming, be sure to keep your mouth closed at all times so your teeth don’t get wet.
Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria that can lead to cavities. It also fights the effects of acidic foods. Drink water often to keep your mouth clean and moist. If you exercise hard, be sure to rehydrate during and after your workout. However, some medical conditions and medications can cause dry mouth. Talk to your dentist if you have concerns about a dry mouth.
Just like any other part of the body, your teeth are affected by what you are or aren’t giving them. Be sure to pay attention to what you expose them to, and talk to your dentist about other ways you can prevent damage to your teeth on a daily basis.
Do you have any questions about preventing tooth damage? Call Westermeier Martin Dental Care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.