See previous blog posting: Tooth Enamel – Part I, What Is Tooth Enamel Erosion?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin
Preventing tooth enamel erosion is far more preferable to fixing the damage after it’s been done. Avoiding certain types of drinks and foods, adjusting some brushing habits, and getting regular check-ups every six months will go a long way in helping you avoid the drill in the dentist chair. Keeping your teeth strong and healthy are important because any cavity or crack in the tooth will decrease its integrity and increase the chances that you may end up with more dental work in the future.
If you’re looking for ways to protect your tooth enamel, here are a few steps to get you started:
- Avoid acidic drinks, like soda and fruit juices, coffee, tea and wine, which can lead to acid erosion of the enamel. If you indulge on occasion, using a straw can help minimize (but not eliminate) contact with your teeth. Milk and water are much better options.
- Avoid eating starchy or sugary foods/candy.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. The enamel becomes temporarily softened while eating and needs the time to re-harden to avoid mechanical erosion.
- After eating and while you are waiting to brush, chewing on sugar free gum can help build saliva which will increase the efficiency that the enamel re-hardens.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste. Mouthwashes are also available with fluoride as well.
- If you find that you are grinding your teeth (see “Bruxing Your Teeth”), you’ll want to see a dentist to find and address the root cause. This wears down the enamel on the grinding surface.
- Don’t miss your 6 month check-ups!
If you experience symptoms of above-average tooth sensitivity to either sugar or hot/cold temperatures, it’s time to schedule an appointment.