When patients visit our family dentist office, we talk a lot about acid erosion, how it impacts the teeth and ways to prevent it. The exterior of the tooth is made of enamel. The enamel is hard and durable but can wear away over time, especially due to erosion. As it does, teeth become more susceptible to cavities and damage. Preventing erosion is therefore important for protecting the long-term health of teeth. Here are some ways that you can do so:
#1. Visit the dentist
We recommend that patients visit our family dentist office twice a year for regular checkups and teeth cleanings. Removing the plaque and tartar that forms on the teeth is important for preventing decay and infections – two things that can weaken enamel.
#2. Brush teeth
It is important to brush teeth for a full two minutes, yet very few people do. Most people only brush teeth for around 45 seconds and this is not enough time to get all the food particles, sugar and plaque off of the teeth. Additionally, the type of toothbrush matters. It is important to brush teeth with a soft toothbrush. (Hard toothbrushes do not abrade tooth structure, but they do cause gum recession.) Hard toothbrushes can actually work to strip away the gum tissue around the tooth, this is called toothbrush recession because they create chronic micro trauma to the tissue. This is counterproductive and can cause further damage to the teeth and gums. Tooth paste has different abrasive levels and can cause damage to the tooth.
#3. Make healthy dietary choices
One of the most important things that anyone can do to prevent enamel erosion is to watch what is eaten or drunk on a daily basis. Certain foods are absolutely terrible for the teeth and must be avoided or consumed with extreme caution. For example, lemons are incredibly acidic so sucking on one is terrible for the teeth. If lemon is added to a dish for flavoring, it is important to rinse the mouth after consuming that food.
Things to avoid entirely include sodas since they have such harmful acidity levels. Even diet soda is terrible for the teeth with acid contents closer to that of battery acid than water. Energy drinks are very acidic, along with Gatorade and Powerade. Also, sour candy should be avoided, the sour taste is created by a strong acidity. Instead of these options, it is far better to drink water and milk. Additionally, some foods can help to strengthen the teeth including nuts, dairy, lean protein and green leafy vegetables.
#4. Use straws
If drinking something acidic, use a straw and swallow directly instead of allowing it to remain in the mouth.
#5. Rinse first
Since acidic foods and drinks make teeth weaker, it is best to rinse the mouth after eating or having a snack and then brush around forty five minutes to an hour later.
#6. Try a new toothpaste
As a family dentist, we know that the type of toothpaste used can make a difference in oral health. When weak enamel is a concern, a toothpaste like Sensodyne® ProNamel® can prevent enamel loss due to acid erosion. It has an ideal fluoride level and is one of the least abrasive toothpastes.
Schedule an appointment
These are just a few of the ways to prevent enamel erosion and help teeth to remain healthy and strong over a lifetime. For more information, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our family dentist office. We will be happy to answer any questions you have and provide suggestions that are specific to your oral health and daily routine.
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