Tooth enamel is that part of your teeth which you can easily see. It’s the outer translucent layer of your teeth and also the thinnest. It has pigments that color the teeth which can be affected by the thickness of the enamel layer protecting the more sensitive dentin, tooth pulp and roots below that. The layer of dentin right below the enamel is yellowish and opaque in color.
Tooth enamel is also the hardest material in your body, even harder than bone. That’s because it’s mineral-rich and can protect the rest of the tooth from temperature extremes and harmful oral bacteria. Problems arise when the tooth enamel is weakened, worn away, chipped, or cracked, allowing bacteria to enter the softer parts of the tooth and causing decay.
First up are harmful items such as those that are high in acids. Acidic foods and drinks can erode your tooth enamel, and it doesn’t take much to begin the erosion process. Some of the highest rated acidic liquids are citrus juices such as lemon juice, grapefruit juice and orange juice, along with wine, soda, tonic water, iced tea, sports drinks, and apple juice. Acidic foods include citrus varieties and tomatoes, cherries, plums, berries, pickles, cranberries, and salad dressing.
To keep these acids from attacking your teeth, its best to wait half an hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth. In the meantime, you can rinse food particles and oral debris out of your mouth by swishing with clean water for 30 seconds. When you do brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently in a 45-degree angle. You don’t need to brush hard or fast.
For those times when you are out and about and can’t brush, chewing sugarless gum can help lower acids in the mouth. Chewing stimulates saliva production and flushes away food particles while lowering the acid levels in the mouth.
If you constantly have dry mouth, your likelihood of decay increases. It’s especially helpful to brush your teeth before you go to bed since saliva production slows down when you sleep. So don’t skip your nightly tooth brushing before bed!
You can’t really talk about healthy tooth enamel without addressing the benefits of fluoride. Whether it is naturally occurring or taken in supplement form, used in your toothpaste or mouthwash, or having a professional fluoride treatment at the dental office, this mineral hardens tooth enamel and helps keep tooth decay away. In fact, fluoride can lower the risk of cavities by as much as 60 percent. It can also lower your chances of enamel erosion which arises from acid. When you include fluoride in your regular daily oral hygiene care, it can counteract the acid that plagues your teeth from the foods and drinks you consume.If you would like to have our team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call and schedule an appointment. Our goal is to help you create the healthiest oral environment for teeth and gums. We look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.