The enamel on your teeth is the outer layer that protects the interior structure of the teeth from sensitivity and decay. In a perfect world tooth enamel is always bright, white, and hard. As you age this protective layer succumbs to discoloration and erosion, resulting in potential damage to the rest of the tooth. Your teeth are unable to regenerate enamel. It is very important to be mindful of not damaging it. Here are 4 things you can do to help protect your tooth enamel.
Limit Acidic Foods and Beverages
Highly acidic food items include citrus fruits, vinegars, sodas, some fruit juices, tomatoes, coffee, tea, and red wine. Acid assaults the enamel directly, wearing it away. A good practice is to consume clean water with meals, especially when eating certain foods. This will help to rinse away any acid that lingers after eating or drinking.
You may also try using a straw when drinking offending beverages. Many coffee bars offer straws with a cup of java or black tea specifically for this purpose. A straw helps to prevent you from swishing fluids in your mouth.
Tooth friction is best described as scraping or grinding. You can scrape the enamel off of your teeth by using a toothbrush that is too hard. A soft toothbrush is better suited for preserving enamel. If you have a habit of chewing on hard items, such as crunchy hard candies or pencils, this too can scrape or abrade the enamel.
Grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is when your teeth scrape against one another. This often occurs during stressful situations or when you sleep. It can be especially hard on your natural teeth that rub against crowns or dental implants. Regardless if you got your dental implants in Charleston, WV or anywhere else, you can speak with your dentist about a guard that you can wear at night to reduce abrasion from grinding. These can be custom fitted or purchased over the counter at a pharmacy. Practice stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and exercise to help reduce anxiety, which in turn may help with grinding.
Avoid Sugary Snacks
You may have already been told by your dentist that sugar causes tooth decay. Sugar can actually make the environment inside your mouth more acidic. It is best, on all health fronts, to limit sugary snacks. If you must eat sugar, brush or rinse your teeth after snacking. Many dentists recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste to protect enamel.
You might also try chewing sugar free gum to stimulate saliva to help clean your teeth of sugar residue. Some dentists recommend gum that is naturally sweetened with stevia or with xylitol. Sucking on sugar free hard candy may also help to satisfy your sweet craving and stimulate saliva production.
Hydrate All Day
Water is your friend in general, especially when it comes to oral health. Your body is made up of approximately 70% water. That water is depleted every time you perspire or urinate. You even lose water when you are sleeping. When you don’t replenish by hydrating often, your mouth can become extremely dry and produce less saliva. Saliva is necessary to help keep the teeth clean and moist.
It is recommended that you drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces every day of pure or filtered water. To understand this better, a 150 pound woman would optimally consume 75 ounces of water throughout the course of a day. That is approximately 6 full cups of water.
Restoring tooth enamel naturally is not possible. Taking proactive measures is the first and best approach to preventing enamel erosion. There are procedures, such as crowns and bonding, that you can discuss with your dentist if the enamel is seriously deteriorated.