Many people don’t know that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body. This outer layer of your teeth acts to protect the teeth from daily wear and tear, and this also prevents your teeth from being too sensitive to hot and cold.
Substances that can also damage your teeth are kept at bay, including acids and chemicals.
But many people want to know how to prevent enamel erosion because modern eating habits lead to the enamel wearing and eroding over time. When the enamel erodes, you’re more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities – ouch.
The best way to prevent enamel erosion is to keep a close eye on your eating habits.
9 Tips to Prevent Enamel Erosion
Preventing erosion of your tooth enamel always starts with your diet. A few tips that will lead to healthy teeth free from enamel erosion include:
- Avoid Carbonated Drinks: Sodas are filled with high acidity levels, which will wear down the enamel on your teeth. Lowering your consumption of carbonated drinks is recommended, and if possible, drink these drinks through a straw so that the liquid doesn’t make contact with the teeth.
- Avoid Holding Acidic Drinks in Your Mouth: People will often swish acidic drinks in their mouth, and some people even hold the liquid in their mouth. Avoiding prolonged contact with these acidic drinks is recommended. Orange juice, which may be healthy, is also very acidic and should be limited whenever possible.
- Eat Cheese and Milk: If you eat something that is acidic, you can drink milk or eat cheese to help neutralize the acid. This can also be done with other non-acidic foods, but cheese will often cover the teeth and stick to it, helping to remove additional acid in the process.
- Wait to Brush Your Teeth: Your first instinct after eating or drinking something acidic may be to brush your teeth. And this makes sense because brushing helps remove substances from the teeth. The problem is that the acid makes the teeth soften, which when brushed actually damages the tooth enamel. So, it’s best to wait 30 – 60 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic before brushing.
- Brush with Fluoride: Fluoride is in many country’s water as an additive, and you’ll find countless fluoride toothpaste options in your local store. Brushing with fluoride will act as an extra barrier against acid erosion.
- Make Regular Dental Visits: Clean, healthy teeth are often better cared for when a person goes to the dentist regularly. A dental visit every 6 months will help you better protect your teeth from further erosion, too.
- Treat Disorders: Acid reflux, bulimia, GERD and alcoholism can attribute to the loss of tooth enamel. Treatment for these disorders will help you combat loss of tooth enamel.
- Chew Sugar-free Gum: Sugar-free gum may be the last thing on your mind, and in most cases, gum isn’t the best option for healthy teeth. But this doesn’t mean that gum is all bad. While sugar can be an enemy for your teeth, sugar-free gum has the benefit of increasing the amount of salvia in your mouth. Salvia helps wash away the acid on the teeth and actually contains key minerals which will strengthen your pearly whites.
- Rinse Your Mouth With Water: If you do have something acidic, rinse your mouth out with water afterwards. The water will help wash away some of the acid on the teeth, helping to further protect your teeth from enamel erosion.
Of course, you should also be brushing daily. If you drink soda before bed, the acid will be able to remain in the mouth for hours, slowly destroying the strongest substance in your body. Daily brushes, at least two, will allow you to remove food particles, plaque and acid from the teeth, which will further ensure strong, healthy tooth enamel.
Dentists can only do so much in the case of enamel erosion. Tooth bonding may be an option and will help protect a damaged tooth. Teeth that are discolored, chipped or worn will also be protected with bonding.
The entire outer shell of the tooth can be lost, and in this case, the tooth will have a higher risk of decay and cavities. A crown may be placed on these teeth to protect them from any further damage.