Our Tooth Enamel – Preventing Decay

Tooth enamel is a powerful substance in the human body that protects teeth from daily wear caused by chewing. Food and drinks have acids and chemicals at various levels that can be harmful for teeth as well. Enamel can protect you from the erosive side effects of what you consume. However, your tooth enamel is not resistant to decay. High levels of acids from soft drinks and sweets can eventually wear out the enamel and leave the tooth more susceptible to surface loss. Behind the enamel exterior is dentin, which is less dense and cannot protect the tooth as effectively from bacteria and erosive effects.

Enamel decay continues to be a growing problem due to unhealthy diets and improper dental hygiene. One of the most easily recognizable signs of tooth decay is sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. Remember that enamel is supposed to protect us from the acids and chemicals that are inside the food we eat. But when it wears down, the nerves within the tooth come in contact with the acids and are stimulated from the food’s extreme temperatures.

A tooth’s appearance can also show whether it has suffered from enamel loss.  Yellowed teeth are a sign of a thinning enamel surface. Another sign of enamel decay are rough or irregular edges of a tooth. Smooth and shiny surfaces on teeth could be the result of mineral loss, which is caused by enamel erosion. Fortunately, there are several solutions that can help protect and build your enamel.

1. Minimize the amount of acid in your diet.

One of the most effective ways to avoid enamel loss is to cut back on drinks that are high in acid levels, such as carbonated sodas and juice. Although orange juice can be healthy in vitamins, it can be detrimental to your teeth. Look for low-acid orange juice as a safer alternative for breakfast. Sometimes people have trouble avoiding a sweet drink after making it a routine in their diet. One way to help cut back is to designate soda or juice during mealtimes, and never as a stand-alone snack.

2. Finish your meal with a glass of water.

Drinking some water can help remove some of the acids left from the food.

3. Brush your teeth at least one hour after you are exposed to acidic foods and drinks.

After you have had a meal, the acids remain and make your enamel soft. If you were to brush your teeth while the enamel was still soft, you could cause more erosion during brushing.

4. Include fluoride in your hygiene.

Fluoride helps enamel to build up. You can purchase toothpaste and/or mouth wash that has fluoride.

5. Use a soft brush.

The best way to brush your teeth is with a soft brush. It is also important to use gentle and slow motions as you brush. Harsh brushing movements can be abrasive and remove enamel.

While enamel decay is a growing problem in today’s health, there are several solutions that everyone can make in their daily routine. Help yourself to a healthier smile!