How to Protect Your Tooth Enamel
The enamel of your teeth provides much more than a cosmetic appearance. This substance is actually the hardest part of your body and for good reason. It protects the dentin, which contains nerves, inside your teeth. When the enamel wears away, pleasantly warm or sweet foods and drinks can cause significant discomfort. Compromised enamel also leads to cavities, which modern medicine has associated with heart disease and other serious maladies. You can protect your enamel with simple dietary and hygienic choices.
Acidic Food and Drink
Avoid beverages that contain a lot of acids or sugars in them. Soda is notorious for having a lot of sugar in it. When some of the sugar content remains in your mouth after you swallow, native bacteria consume these sugars and eventually produce acids that eat away at the enamel. Many foods, even fruits such as grapes and oranges, have high acid contents. Try to eat these in moderation.
Use a Straw
Drink acidic or sugary liquids with a straw when it is necessary. Many such beverages are desirable because of other nutrient qualities, such as cranberry juice. By imbibing them with a straw, the acid bypasses your teeth and heads straight down your throat. Some will remain in your mouth, but it will be a lesser quantity than if you drank straight from a glass or can.
If you have a meal containing a lot of acidic or sugary food, finish it with a glass of milk or a hunk of cheese. These foods will neutralize the acids before they can damage your teeth. It takes a while for damage to occur because bacteria and food particles must combine to form plaque. Once plaque forms, only anaerobic bacteria can survive at the bottom of the plaque layer where it attaches to the tooth. These anaerobic bacteria produce the acids that erode enamel. Dairy products can prevent these acids from causing any damage.
Drink water after each meal. Water cannot neutralize acids, but it can wash them away. This will have the same effect of not allowing acids to harm your teeth. You can heighten the effect by actually gargling and rinsing your mouth after a meal. This is easy to do, even when you are out with friends. A quick trip to the bathroom after a meal can save the integrity of your teeth.
Brush Your Teeth
Use a soft brush when you brush your teeth. You might think that firmer brushes would be more effective, but these instruments abrade the enamel and encourage erosion. To add more protection, use a fluoride toothpaste. This element strengthens the enamel of your teeth.