The enamel surface of our teeth is strong; in fact, it is the strongest substance in our bodies. Despite this fact, tooth decay is still a problem for many people as every time we eat, our tooth enamel is weakened. Although tooth enamel has the capability to rebuild itself, the typical American diet of sugar and starchy foods can do more damage to enamel than nature ever intended. Many knowledgeable dentists stress the importance of fluoride as fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and decreases the risk of tooth decay. In addition to incorporating appropriate amounts of fluoride into your dental health routine, there are other ways to prevent enamel erosion and tooth decay that involve diet and proper oral hygiene.
Sugar and starches on the teeth will eventually turn to acid if they are not cleaned properly. Some foods contain acid, even those that are healthy for us such as citrus fruits and many vegetables. Eating a healthy diet and brushing and flossing your teeth regularly are essential to keeping your tooth enamel strong, as well as preventing the buildup of bacteria that can lead to gum disease. You can help to wash away acids after eating by drinking water after meals and not brushing your teeth immediately. Immediately after meals, enamel is rebuilding and can be damaged further if you brush within 20 minutes or so after eating, so save the brushing until a bit later.
Sometimes tooth enamel is damaged by factors that we can’t control, such as illness. Acid reflux disease, dry mouth, and vomiting are some of the health issues that can cause such tooth destruction. It is also beneficial to be cautious of medications and vitamins as there are some that contain high levels of acid (such as aspirin and
With all of the acid in even healthy diets, it is impossible to prevent your tooth enamel from eroding. This is why nature designed the re-mineralization process to properly rebuild enamel and maintain a healthy smile. Although our bodies assist us in our oral health care, human nature and lifestyle choices make it necessary to give nature a helping hand in keeping our teeth strong. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing at least once a day, limiting sweets and seeing the dentist for checkups twice a year are the best things you can do to prevent enamel erosion and other oral health problems.
When tooth decay does occur, fillings, crowns and other dental restorations can rebuild a damaged tooth to restore its strength and prevent the decay from spreading. If you would like to learn more about tooth enamel and how to prevent erosion that leads to cavities and tooth decay, call our Chevy Chase office for an appointment today.