Tooth enamel is the hardest, strongest tissue in the body – stronger than even your bones. So why then is it so easy to wear down and, unlike bones, once it’s gone, it’s gone?
Because of enamel’s vulnerability to erosion and its inability to be replaced, it’s important to take care of the teeth as well as you can to preserve that powerful outer covering. Below are some helpful ways you can go about doing that.
Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?
Tooth enamel is a protective outer covering for your teeth. It is the barrier between your teeth and acidic foods, hot and cold temperatures, and other substances which could damage your teeth.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?
Enamel is hard and tough and meant to last a lifetime, but everyday activities like chewing, biting, grinding or blunt force against the teeth can cause the enamel to break. Vomiting can also wear down your tooth enamel. It is also worn away when a person doesn’t practice good oral hygiene and brush regularly.
Brushing and flossing aren’t just to freshen breath and whiten teeth; it’s also to preserve the very life of your teeth, which includes your enamel. Protecting your enamel will make it possible for you to keep all of your teeth well into old age.
What Can You Do About It?
No one likes to have to wear dentures and implants when they can keep their own teeth for the rest of their lives. You’ll know your enamel is compromised when teeth become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and sweet foods, when the teeth become more yellow in color, when you can see through your teeth in the light, or when teeth start to get brittle and sharp-edged. Here’s what you can do now to preserve your enamel:
- Stay away from acidic drinks, like carbonated drinks, sodas, alcoholic beverages and fruit juices.
- Steer clear of sugary, acidic or carbohydrate-rich foods, which will stick to your teeth and gradually break down enamel. You should definitely brush after eating, but especially when you’ve eaten these types of foods. Fluoride toothpastes further protect the enamel, and it’s recommended that you wait about 30 minutes before brushing after eating acidic foods because the enamel may become softened during that time and brushing could brush it away.
- Keep your body hydrated and your mouth moist. This may mean drinking water consistently throughout the day, eating sugar-free breath mints, or chewing sugar-free gum. Of course, water is the safest option for your teeth, and it’s highly beneficial to your body overall.
- If you are prone to grinding your teeth, you may benefit from wearing a mouth guard, especially while you sleep.
- There are certain medicines that contain lots of acid and erosive substances that you’ll also want to steer clear of, including aspirin and antihistamines.
- Even though daily brushing and flossing are great for your oral health, using excessive force can harm your enamel. So use a soft bristle toothbrush, brush gently, and floss correctly.
- Do not use your teeth in place of tools and utensils that are meant to open bottles and containers or crack nuts. This will destroy your enamel and could even chip teeth.