Did you know that your tooth enamel (the outermost layer of your teeth) is the hardest substance in your body? However, it unfortunately can’t be regenerated. That means once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. For this reason, you’ve got to be extra careful to protect your enamel from the common phenomenon of erosion. There are many reasons your teeth can be worn down. A dentist in Dallas, GA is here to talk about a few of them, and what you can do to save your teeth from it.
What Causes Enamel Erosion?
Many habits can subtly damage your enamel, including:
- Too many sweets. Bacteria in your mouth feast on sugar you eat, creating a harmful waste product that destroys enamel and forms cavities.
- Acidic foods and drinks. Items like sour candies, citrus fruits, and sodas can wear down enamel.
- Dry mouth. Saliva rinses sugars and bacteria out of your mouth and fills your enamel with minerals. Not having enough of it can lead to erosion.
- Heartburn, alcoholism, or bulimia. Frequent exposure to stomach acid can wear down the teeth’s outer layer.
- Brushing too hard. Brush gently instead and use a soft-bristled brush.
- Grinding your teeth. If you clench or grind while sleeping, ask your dentist about a nightguard.
Symptoms of Enamel Erosion
When your enamel wears thin, it gradually exposes the yellowish, softer layer of dentin underneath and may result in your teeth appearing less white. Dentin also contains microscopic tubules that lead to the nerves inside the tooth. As a result, you might feel sensitivity when consuming something hot or cold. The edges of your teeth may also become rough or uneven.
Tips to Protect Your Enamel from Erosion
Since enamel can’t be replaced, your best bet is to protect it while you still have it. Here are some tips to do just that:
- Cut down on sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
- If you consume something acidic, rinse your mouth with water immediately afterward. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
- Sip sodas and fruit juices through a straw to minimize direct contact with your teeth.
- Finish a meal with a piece of cheese or glass of milk to negate the acids you just consumed.
- If you have dry mouth, sip water throughout the day.
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating to stimulate saliva production.
- Use an ultra-soft toothbrush to gently clean your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time.
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens enamel.
- Get treatment for conditions like bulimia and alcoholism.
- See your dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning.
If you notice any of the symptoms of enamel erosion described in this post, let your dentist know. They can come up with a customized treatment plan for you to help preserve the outermost layer of your teeth and make it last a lifetime.
About the Author
Dr. Jack Bickford is a Fellow with the American College of Dentists and a member of the Pierre Fauchard Academy dental honor society. In 2009, he earned the Georgia Dental Association’s Honorable Fellow Award. He strongly believes in the power of preventive care when it comes to keeping his patients’ enamel in good condition. If you think your enamel may be wearing down, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Bickford’s practice at (770) 445-6606.