Tooth enamel is pretty amazing stuff. In fact, it’s the strongest substance in your body. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer protecting your teeth. It plays a strong role in protecting them from decay and discomfort. But despite its hard appearance, tooth enamel is surprisingly fragile. It can be damaged by the foods you eat, brushing too hard, and not taking care of your teeth.
Tooth enamel is critical to great dental care. By protecting and caring for your tooth enamel, you protect and care for your teeth as well. Here’s what you can do to protect it — and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile that’s cavity free.
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush two times per day for two minutes each time. This will help protect your tooth enamel from damaging bacteria that excrete acidic plaque that can wear away and damage your teeth.
Your mouth is a warm incubator for bacteria. These bacteria lead to deposits called plaque. As plaque builds up, it calcifies, or hardens, forming tartar on your teeth. This can irritate your gums, leading to gum disease. It also causes bad breath.
Dentists recommend brushing in the morning. This will remove any bacteria that’s built up in your mouth overnight.
As your dentist, we want you to brush — but don’t overdo it. It’s not like your scrubbing dishes. Brushing too hard can actually wear off the enamel on your teeth. This can expose the dentin underneath, which can lead to tooth sensitivity, cavities, and decay.
We want you to be thorough, but gentle — like you’re polishing an eggshell. Always use a soft toothbrush (it will say “soft’ on the package).
Soda’s loaded with sugar and bad news for your teeth enamel. Even diet soda or unsweetened seltzer water contains damaging acids that can wear out your tooth enamel. Take it from your dentist. Stick to water or drink milk instead.
Citrus fruits and drinks are high in vitamins and fiber — but also highly acidic, which is hard on your teeth enamel. Limit your consumption of oranges, grapefruits or beverages flavored with lemon juice. You don’t need to avoid these things completely — just don’t go overboard. Drink plenty of water after eating citrus fruits to rinse away the acid from the juices.
When you do drink acidic beverages such as orange juice or lemonade, use a straw. This will limit the acid’s contact with the teeth.
Drink & Eat Plenty of Dairy
Cheese and milk actively protect the enamel on your teeth. Eating cheese encourages your body’s production of saliva, which rinses away bacteria and the acids that eat the enamel on your teeth. Both milk and cheese are high in calcium and phosphate, which help remineralize and strengthen enamel.
Chew Sugar Free Gum
Gum helps to stimulate the body’s natural production of saliva, which provides a bath for your teeth, rinsing away the bacteria and acids that wear away your tooth enamel. But it’s important that the gum you chew is sugar-free. Otherwise, you are introducing sugar content into your mouth, which bacteria feed on, wearing away your enamel.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is great for your teeth. It provides a bath for your mouth and encourages saliva production. Make sure to drink water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle by your side and drink from it regularly.
Many alcoholic beverages are high in sugar. Others, such as red wine, are highly acidic. Drinking too much alcohol can wear down the enamel on your teeth. Alcohol can also be very dehydrating, which can limit your saliva production and encourage bacteria growth. When you do drink alcohol, make sure to drink plenty of water. This will help alleviate dehydration and limit hangovers.
See a Dentist Regularly to Have Your Teeth Cleaned
Another way to protect your tooth enamel is to stay up to date on your teeth cleanings. We recommend regular cleanings and checkup every 6 months. When’s the last time you’ve been to see a dentist? Maybe it’s time to call our office in Cincinnati.