You probably think a lot about how the foods you eat affect your body. But, do you ever consider how what you eat and drink impact your teeth?
A hard substance called enamel covers the visible portion of your teeth, protecting them from decay and damage. While tooth enamel is the hardest mineral substance in your body, it’s not indestructible. Since it contains no living cells, it can’t heal itself like a bone. Therefore, caring for your tooth enamel should be an important part of your dental health and wellness routine.
What Does Tooth Enamel Do?
The thin layer of enamel protects the inside layers of your teeth when you chew, bite, grind, or crunch on food. It also serves to insulate the interior of your teeth from hot or cold temperatures, or even chemicals that you may consume.
The first step in protecting your tooth enamel is watching what you eat. Some foods, especially those that are acidic, can damage the enamel. If you consume considerable amounts of acidic foods and drinks, the enamel will wear away, exposing the dentin in your teeth. This leads to decay and cavities.
Foods and drinks that are bad for your enamel include:
- Soft drinks – since they contain phosphoric and citric acid.
- All types of wine.
- Fruit juices, especially lemon, cranberry, orange, and apple.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes.
- Sour gummies and candies are especially bad for your tooth enamel.
- Sugar doesn’t contain acid, but it encourages the growth of acid-creating bacteria in your mouth.
- Stomach acid – comes into contact with your teeth when you vomit or experience acid reflux.
- Some medications like aspirin and antihistamines.
- Moderately acidic foods that can hard enamel include tomatoes, cottage cheese, maple syrup, yogurt, raisins, pickles, and even honey.
Signs of Enamel Erosion
If your enamel is eroded, you’ll be able to see visible signs of enamel damage.
- Sensitivity – sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks may cause a twinge of pain, especially in the early stages of enamel erosion.
- Discoloration – a yellow color may emerge as the enamel wears away and more dentin shows through.
- Cracks and chips – as the enamel wears away, the edges of the teeth may feel more jagged.
- Increased sensitivity – in later stages of enamel erosion, teeth may become much more sensitive to temperature and sweets.
While you can avoid some acidic foods, it’s not realistic to never drink a glass of orange juice or enjoy a glass of wine. To lessen the damage, consider the following steps:
- Eat acidic foods with meals instead of as a snack during the day.
- Use a straw when drinking soda or acidic drinks.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating acidic foods.
- Opt for low or no-sugar drinks.
- Wait to brush since acid can weaken enamel. Don’t brush for 30 minutes after eating acid.
Restoring Tooth Enamel
Once tooth enamel has been damaged or destroyed, it cannot be brought back. However, weakened tooth enamel can be restored to an extent. Using products with high amounts of calcium phosphate or fluoride can help remineralize teeth naturally before the damage becomes extensive. Bonding and dental crowns, including CREC crowns, can also help restore teeth that have experienced enamel erosion.
If you need to find a dentist to help you lessen the effects of enamel erosion, please contact our dentist in largo, FL. Please contact our office at 727-513-4658 or use our convenient contact form to request an appointment.