A tough, white substance called tooth enamel protects your teeth from damage, decay and discoloration. It is composed of calcium phosphate in the form of hydroxyapatite crystals.
However, the enamel can erode over time. Taking steps to strengthen and restore your enamel can protect you from the harm caused by acid and sugar that can lead to cavities.
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1. Rinse After Eating
Tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the body, and it protects your teeth from decay, damage, and discoloration. However, if tooth enamel becomes weakened or damaged due to certain foods and beverages, it can increase your risk for developing cavities and other problems.
Limiting sugary junk foods, chewing on crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots to stimulate saliva flow, and drinking plenty of water will help strengthen your enamel. Using mouthwash with a high (alkaline) pH also helps. Rinsing after eating and prior to brushing will eliminate the acids that soften enamel, and it can remove food particles that can stain teeth.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Your diet plays a role in your oral health, especially enamel strength. A diet low in minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium makes teeth more susceptible to weak and eroded enamel.
Sugar is a main food source for bacteria in your mouth and contributes to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Eliminating sugar from your diet will drastically reduce this bacteria’s food supply and help protect your enamel.
Eating a healthy diet can also help prevent enamel erosion by increasing saliva production, which washes away bacteria and leftover food from your teeth. Chewing on sugar-free gum after eating and drinking is another good way to boost saliva flow. You can even use a straw when drinking acidic drinks to further reduce enamel wear. Vitamin D-rich foods can also promote strong teeth and prevent weakened or eroded enamel as well as combat dry mouth.
3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it can wear away and become eroded. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect and strengthen your teeth.
Good oral hygiene includes a consistent brushing routine (at least twice daily) and regular flossing. Additionally, you should try to avoid foods and drinks that can harm your teeth (such as sugary sodas and coffee) and prioritize healthy foods and nutrients.
Leafy greens, for example, are high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals to strengthen teeth and fight plaque. Furthermore, crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots stimulate saliva production to remove bacteria from the mouth. Drinking water and staying hydrated can also strengthen your teeth. This is especially important for those who have a dry mouth, which can cause a host of serious health problems.
4. Schedule Regular Checkups
Brushing and flossing are important tools to support good oral hygiene, but they’re not the only steps needed to maintain a healthy smile. Patients of all ages should make it a point to schedule regular dental appointments, usually no more than six months apart, for a thorough visual inspection and the use of digital imaging equipment (like X-rays).
Routine dental checkups allow dentists to address oral health concerns early, before they have an opportunity to become more severe or widespread. This significantly increases the effectiveness of treatment and minimizes the need for more extensive or invasive procedures in the future. In addition, professional teeth cleanings help remove plaque, tartar, and stains that can’t be removed at home, further protecting the integrity of enamel.
5. Don’t Forget About the Rest of Your Mouth
The outer surface of your teeth is made of enamel, the toughest substance in your body. This layer protects the sensitive inner layers of your tooth and helps prevent cavities. However, it’s not invincible and weakened enamel can lead to painful issues later on.
When bacteria in your mouth eat sugar, they release an acid byproduct that can wear down your enamel. Over time, this can lead to tooth sensitivity and discoloration.
Eating a healthy diet can help strengthen your enamel and reduce problems like plaque buildup. Choose foods that are high in calcium (like milk, cheese and leafy greens) and phosphate (like eggs and meat) to promote strong teeth and gums. Also, be sure to hydrate with water, which helps wash away food particles and stimulate saliva production for effective plaque control.