Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it’s not immune to wear and tear. Your enamel can still erode or be damaged, which can in turn have consequences for your smile’s appearance and your oral health.
Here are a few dental tips to follow that can help you protect your enamel:
- Limit your intake of sweet treats, which provide nutrition for bacteria, which then create acids as byproducts of digestion.
- Steer clear of highly acidic foods, as well, like sodas, sour candies, etc. When you do drink acidic juices, etc., use a straw to minimize the beverage’s contact with your teeth.
- Saliva clears away acids and bacteria, so be aware of medications that may cause dry mouth as a side effect and take action to address that. Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production and drink extra water if you have issues with dry mouth.
- Use fluoridated toothpaste to give your enamel a boost. Don’t brush too aggressively and wait for at least an hour to brush after consuming acidic foods or drinks, which can make it easier for the enamel to break down.
- Bruxism, a condition in which patients unknowingly grind or clench their teeth, can also weaken the teeth. If you suspect you may have this issue, ask your dentist whether you should be wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent the teeth from touching.
- You should also be honest with your dentist about other health conditions that can contribute to enamel erosion, such as acid reflux disease, bulimia and alcoholism. Get treatment for those issues to protect your teeth as well as your overall health.
The signs and symptoms of enamel erosion include increased tooth sensitivity, noticeably rough edges on the teeth or cupping or dents in the enamel and yellowing. If you notice any of these effects, bring them to your dentist’s attention so that you can learn more about your treatment options.
This list is by no means a comprehensive plan for preserving your enamel for all of eternity. Your dentist may also have additional suggestions based on the specifics of your case, so be sure to ask if you should be doing anything else to strengthen your teeth.
For additional tips, or to schedule your next dental exam, contact the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow at 972-458-2464.