Most of us don’t think much about our oral health, though we regularly brush and floss for good oral hygiene. When you’re brushing your teeth, drinking soda, or consuming other types of beverages and foods, you’re doing damage to your tooth enamel. That’s because many of us are guilty of using too much pressure when we brush and everyone consumes foods and beverages that are harmful to their teeth. Moderation is key, but, there are other things which cause tooth enamel loss you should know about.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Loss?
Tooth enamel is a protective coating that covers the crowns, which is the exposed portions of your teeth. Though you might think it to be thick to be effective, at it’s deepest point, it is normally only about 2.5 millimeters. Though it seems to be very thin, it’s very effective in protecting your teeth. However, tooth enamel loss can be caused by eating too many acidic foods, brushing too hard, xerostomia (dry mouth), plaque, grinding or clenching teeth (called “bruxism”), and even swimming pool chlorine. That’s right, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that frequent swimmers experience an increased occurrence of tooth enamel loss. Fortunately, your tooth enamel can be restored.
“You wouldn’t think the toughest substance in your body would be prone to decay, but your tooth enamel is constantly grappling with the things you eat and drink. Despite being harder than bone, enamel can become weaker when you indulge in sugary foods or add a diet soda to your lunch. It’s no wonder it needs a little help to stay strong.” –Colgate (http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/article/sw-281474979431235)
Ways to Restore Tooth Enamel
If you have lost tooth enamel, you can do some things to remineralize it and/or prevent more loss. Here are the ways to restore tooth enamel you can do on your own:
- Tooth remineralization. The good news is, tooth enamel, although the strongest substance in the human body, can be restored. One method is called “tooth remineralization,” or, “spontaneous remineralization.” It’s a phenomenon most people never hear about, but, it does happen. When you brush your teeth or eat or drink, it causes saliva compounds to kick into action and these deposit minerals onto your teeth. Saliva is also helpful in another way — it carries acids away from your teeth, helping to preserve enamel and less the chances of developing cavities.
- Eat healthy. You should regularly consume foods which are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Avoiding drinks and foods that have a lot of sugar and/or acid are key to preserving tooth enamel. If you do consume these, be sure to drink water and brush and floss after.
- Drink water regularly. Speaking of water, everyone knows you should drink plenty of water, but, it’s not just for hydration. Water is essential to wash away harmful bacteria and acids from your teeth. Just one glass of water is usually enough to carry away these harmful substances.
- Use a soft bristled brush. Replace your hard bristled brush with a soft bristled brush and you’ll still be able to maintain good oral health, but, won’t inadvertently damage your tooth enamel.
In addition, you should also use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, which help to strengthen teeth and reduce acid exposure. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.
Until next time, keep flossing!