We’re no strangers to protective casings in today’s modern world. From a waterproof case for your smartphone to a helmet on a bike ride, we know how important an extra layer of protection can be to safeguard something valuable from wear, tear, and disrepair. But while you take excellent care of your smartphone, have you ever considered that maintaining a diligent oral health regimen is vital in helping keep up the protective covering on your teeth? Your enamel is the hardest substance in your body, covering the outside of your teeth and keeping it strong and healthy is vital in maintaining your overall oral health. If we aren’t careful, our enamel can erode, leading to various health problems and frustrations.
Why does enamel erode?
Erosion of the enamel can happen because of a few different things, but the bottom line comes down to what you put in your mouth. Acid is the main perpetrator of erosion, and both highly acidic foods and sugary foods can cause problems. Sugar actually becomes acidic in your mouth and can bore into your enamel if left on your teeth after eating or drinking, which is why you so often hear dentists advising patients to cut back on the sugar. Candy, soda, and fruit juice are all notable sources of sugar and acid that can damage your teeth when consumed in large quantities.
What are the signs of enamel erosion?
There are a few ways to tell if your enamel is starting to wear away. One of the most noticeable signs is increased sensitivity and tooth pain. If hot or cold food and beverages are causing you pain, it’s time to see the dentist. Additionally, teeth with poor enamel structure may appear yellowish and discolored because the dentin below your enamel is becoming exposed. At further stages, this discoloration may turn to transparency as the enamel becomes thinner. Finally, you may notice small cracks or dents in your teeth in the areas used for chewing.
How can I avoid losing my enamel?
Your best defense in protecting your enamel is a good offense. Twice daily brushing and flossing, as well as incorporating a fluoride mouth rinse will help to keep enamel strong. Fluoride is a mineral that is proven to help strengthen enamel, so it’s important to be sure you’re incorporating it into your routine. It’s also best to avoid sugary and acidic foods to help keep your teeth in tip top shape. If you do indulge in a sugary soda or other sweet drinks, use a straw to limit the liquids exposure to your teeth. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum to help your mouth produce more saliva, helping to wash away acids and keep teeth strong.
Some enamel erosion is normal as we age, but there are ways we can proactively protect the layer we’ve already got. If you’re worried about the state of your enamel, or if you’re wondering what more you can be doing to help keep yours strong, give us a call at Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics to schedule an appointment today!