How to protect your teeth enamel and avoid costly dental work

The enamel on your teeth is stronger than steel, but it’s actually pretty fragile — and it can chip pretty easily.

Strong enamel is essential for chewing and protects the area underneath the tooth (like the nerves and the dentin) — and you can’t get it back. Once it’s gone you either have to get a filling or a crown to fix it.

It sounds pretty scary, but the good news is that you can stop the damage by following a few important steps.

Check Your Toothpaste

You have a million-and-one choices when it comes to toothpaste, but not all of them are worth putting on your teeth.

To protect your enamel, look for toothpastes that contain fluoride. The American Dental Association says that fluoride can help strengthen weakened enamel and reverse minor decay.

Also, be sure to look for toothpastes that have the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance and contains ingredients like phosphate, dissolved calcium and sodium chloride. Why? A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry found that these ingredients can reduce the impact soda has on your enamel.

Strong enamel is essential for chewing and protects the area underneath the tooth (like the nerves and the dentin) — and you can’t get it back.

Chew Some (Sugar-Free) Gum

It seems counterintuitive, but chewing gum can actually help your enamel. The caveat on this? It has to be sugar-free gum. The ADA says that chewing sugar-free gum can help increase the flow of saliva and neutralizes acids and bacteria that come from food, as well as adding additional calcium and phosphate to your teeth.

Look for sugar-free gum that has the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, including the sugar-free flavors from Extra, Eclipse, Dentyne, Stride and Trident. They’re available in most grocery stores, convenience stores and online.

Eat Foods That Are Good For Enamel (And Stay Away From These Foods)

Our bodies are amazing: While we can’t grow new enamel, it can be strengthened through eating a diet fortified with calcium and phosphorous. Dairy products – including milk, kefir, yogurt and cheese — are contain these minerals, as does meat from chicken and beef.

Fruits and vegetables are also an essential part of an enamel-friendly diet. Celery, raw carrots and apples are three of the best because the high fiber content in them helps “clean” your teeth while you chew it and promotes saliva production. Leafy greens like lettuce, kale and spinach are also good for oral health, as are nuts like almonds (thanks to the protein, fiber and calcium).

Then there are the bad foods and drinks — you know, the ones that can actually harm your teeth. Soda is one of the worst because the sugars and the other ingredients mix with the saliva in your mouth to create an acid that erodes tooth enamel. You should stay away from sugary treats (like candy), fruit juices and alcohol for the same reasons.

And if you must indulge in soda, juice or alcohol? Always drink through a straw because it pushes the liquid to the back of your mouth and minimizes its contact with your tooth enamel.

Brush Your Teeth Strategically

Brushing your teeth seems pretty straightforward: You put some toothpaste on a toothbrush, stick the brush in your mouth and go to town on your teeth.

But it’s really not that simple.

You can actually harm the enamel on your teeth if you brush improperly for an extended period of time. Keep that from becoming a problem by replacing your toothbrush every three months — sooner if the bristles start fraying. Look for a brush with soft bristles and only put it in your mouth angled at about 45 degrees. Brush with short strokes, kind of like you’re brushing one tooth at a time, and use back-and-forth motions to brush the inner, outer and chewing surfaces on each. Tackle the front teeth by holding your toothbrush vertically and using up-and-down strokes.

And, contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking something sugary or acidic. Wait 30 minutes to brush and drink a glass of water, if possible, to swish out excess food particles and wash away bacteria.

Visit the Dentist on a Regular Basis

You’re the one responsible for your teeth, but you need to call in professional help at least twice a year. Regular visits to your dentist for cleanings can help keep your enamel strong and cavity-free — and your dentist can give you advice on how to stop (or even reverse) any damage that’s already there.

Contact us at TruFamily Dental to make an appointment today.

Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips