Your teeth are protected by their hard outer enamel shell. However, this enamel can become worn down and decayed over time if you do not take proactive steps to keep it strong and healthy. Once the enamel is compromised, bacteria can reach the delicate inner structures of the teeth, causing pain and infection. Here are 7 ways to protect your teeth.
1. Minimize Sweets
Even the cleanest mouth is filled with bacteria that can colonize along the teeth, creating a material known as plaque, which can harden into a difficult to remove substance called tartar. Sugary foods and beverages feed these bacteria, and give them a source for the glue that attaches them to the teeth. Sticky candies and acid-containing sodas are particularly problematic. Whenever possible, quench your thirst with plain water, and be sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth after consuming sugary snacks or drinks.
2. Brush Carefully
Brush and flossing comprise the first line of defense against tooth decay, but over-brushing can actually damage tooth enamel. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gumline, and brush with moderate pressure for 30 seconds per quadrant of your mouth.
Timing is also a concern. Rinse with plain water immediately after consuming pop, energy drink, sugary foods or citrus foods, but wait an hour to brush. Acids and sugars soften the enamel, making it more likely to become damaged from brushing. Always go to bed with clean teeth!
3. Harden Tooth Enamel Naturally
Not only does calcium strengthen bones, it also hardens tooth enamel. Consume calcium-rich dairy products frequently. If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, choose foods that are enriched with calcium or take a calcium supplement.
4. Watch Your Digestion
Digestive issues that cause vomiting, as well as acid reflux, can seriously damage tooth enamel. Treat any gastrointestinal issues as soon as possible to avoid or minimize risks to your teeth.
5. Treat Dry Mouth
Dry mouth can be caused by many factors, from dehydration to medication side effects. Hydrate well throughout the day, especially before and after workouts. Sip water frequently, and try sugar free gum or hard candy to increase saliva production. If your mouth still seems dry, talk to your doctor about prescription treatments.
6. Get Enough Fluoride
Fluoride has gotten an undeserved bad reputation in some circles, but the truth is it strengthens tooth enamel and can reverse early tooth decay. It also makes your teeth more resistant to plaque and enamel-softening acids. Brush with fluoridated toothpaste, and consider a fluoridated mouthwash if you tend to get cavities. Your dentist can suggest prescription treatments if needed.
7. Visit the Dentist
Professional cleaning is much more powerful than at-home brushing and flossing. Regular dental appointments also allow your dentist to check for emerging issues, and treat them before they become serious. Your dentist will also give you personalized advice regarding habits that could damage your teeth, such as tooth grinding or frequent swimming in heavily chlorinated pools. Visit the dentist twice per year, or as recommended.
Your teeth are protected by a strong layer of enamel, but the enamel can become worn or decayed over time. Proactively caring for your teeth is the best way to ensure that they last a lifetime.
Conveniently located in Woodbury, MN, Creekview Dental provides a progressive yet conservative approach to dental care. Our innovative, highly personalized procedures are focused on maintaining tooth structure and providing you with the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Call us today at 651-738-8204 to take the first steps on the road to better dental health.