What we eat fuels every cell in our bodies, including our teeth and gums. Therefore, it is not a shock when dentists tell their patients that their nutrition is important to their oral health. However, what does surprise people is that even healthy foods, like some fruits and most fruit juices contain acids that dissolve away the enamel of their teeth.
Enamel is the hard surface of your teeth that protects the inner pulp and nerve. In fact, it is actually the strongest substance in the human body. When enamel is weakened due to acid, your teeth are more prone to cavities and decay. Unfortunately, once a tooth begins to lose enamel, it is not able to be replaced. It is gone. Therefore, in order to ensure good oral (and overall) health, it is important that people are educated on how to properly manage acid erosion. Below are six tips to help manage this problem.
1.) First, you must visit your dentist regularly. Routine dental check-ups help monitor your overall dental health, educate you on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and spot small problems before they become large and expensive issues. If you have not been to a dentist recently, it is never too late. Most dental offices are eager to help new patients improve their oral health.
2.) Secondly, reduce the consumption of highly acidic drinks like soda and fruit juice. Instead choose alternative options like milk, tap water, or black coffee. Acidic beverages have a low PH level, while milk, black coffee, and water have high PH levels, thus limiting the chance of erosion. The best option is actually water because most city water systems have fluorinated water. Fluoride is an element that has proven to strengthen tooth enamel, providing stronger and healthier teeth, and limiting the number of cavities.
3.) Use a straw when drinking high acidic beverages. A straw forces the drink to the back of your mouth, ultimately limiting the amount of contact the acid has with your teeth, which decreases the chances of erosion.
4.) Don’t swish the beverage around in your mouth. By swishing fruit juice or soda you are coating your teeth in acid; therefore, causing the acid to settle on to your teeth and cause decay.
5.) Rinse your mouth with water. Like mentioned above, water is good for your enamel. Additionally, by rinsing your mouth out immediately after drinking an acidic beverage, you are bathing your teeth and helping to wash the damaging acid away.
6.) Finally, wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming juice or soda, you are actually harming your enamel. Acidic beverages leave your enamel softened, causing more erosion when brushing.
Depending on the amount of enamel erosion, there are a few procedures your dentist may suggest to help protect your teeth. The first is bonding, which will improve the appearance of teeth that are worn down, chipped, or discolored. The second is placing a crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage. However, it is important to note that nothing is better for you than to maintain proper oral hygiene and nutrition in order to keep your mouth and body healthy for years to come.