Tooth enamel on the outside of your teeth is designed to last a lifetime. The American Dental Association reports that tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. You can think of tooth enamel as the protector of your teeth. It is normal to have some wear and tear of tooth enamel over time; however there are things that can wear away enamel more rapidly than you realize. Enamel can also chip and break. Enamel has no living cells, so once it is chipped or broken it cannot repair itself like a broken bone or mended tissue. Knowing these tips can help you avoid compromising the strength and health of the enamel on your teeth.
Sugar is an enemy of tooth enamel, especially sugary foods and soft drinks. Sugar turns into acid in your mouth and acid eats away at your tooth enamel. Soft drinks including soda and sports drinks have higher levels of acids. Chewy candies or high sugar foods that stick to your teeth should be limited. If you eat or drink sugary items it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water to help neutralize the acids and wash away residual sugars.
Foods that are high in calcium can actually help your tooth enamel. Calcium counteracts acids in the mouth and promotes strength and growth for teeth and bones. If you are not a fan of dairy foods, beverages you can look for calcium fortified products.
Believe it or not, brushing too hard and too often can damage your tooth enamel and be harmful to your gums. Avoid hard or stiff bristled tooth brushes. You should not brush your teeth directly after eating sweets or citrus foods/drinks because acidic food temporarily softens the enamel on your teeth. Tooth enamel needs a chance to re-harden prior to brushing.
Stomach acids from heartburn, reflux or eating disorders can and will damage tooth enamel. If you suffer from any of these issues, it’s important to treat the problem to avoid seriously damaging your teeth. Dry mouth can be harmful to your tooth enamel. The saliva in your mouth is vital to help wash away and clean away bacteria. Saliva also helps neutralize acidic foods. If you have limited saliva production you may also have enamel erosion. Drinking water on a regular basis is good for your health and helpful for people who suffer from dry mouth.
If you are consistently harming your tooth enamel your dentist may recommend some diet changes, changing your tooth brush and the way that you brush; they may also recommend using special toothpaste like Pronamel or Colgate Total. Dr. Porcaro regularly checks the health and condition of tooth enamel during dental checkups and cleaning appointments.