What Is It?
Dental erosion is a huge problem. It occurs when the enamel on your teeth begins to erode, or disintegrate. Your enamel is a clear, hard outer layer that protects your teeth from the damages of daily life. It keeps your teeth safe from feeling things that might otherwise be too hot, or too cold for you to eat and drink. It also helps to keep acid and damaging chemicals from hurting your teeth.
If this protective outer shell starts to erode, you’re much more likely to get cavities and tooth decay. Your nerves become more sensitive, and you might not even be able to enjoy the foods and drinks that you’re used to. The good news is, it’s preventable.
Limit Your Intake Of Acidic Foods/Drinks
As you’ll see, acid is the primary cause of dental erosion. The main goal is to prevent it as much as possible from damaging your teeth. This means the less acidic foods and drinks you consume, the less of a chance you’ll have at your enamel eroding. If you do decide to indulge, there are several steps you can take to help avoid further damage to your pearly whites.
Don’t Brush After Eating Anything Acidic
If you do eat or drink something with lots of acid, make sure you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. If you don’t, you run the risk of damaging your enamel.
Chew Sugar Free Gum
Saliva is extremely beneficial to your oral health, and chewing sugar-free gum is the number one way to increase saliva flow in your mouth. It helps to clear out food remnants and other debris, neutralize acids, and assists in getting rid of bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Saliva also contains nutrients like calcium, fluoride, and phosphates that strengthen tooth enamel. Without a healthy saliva flow, you’re at risk for number of oral health problems including tooth decay, periodontal disease, and infections.
Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for just twenty minutes after eating meals can reduce tooth decay, while preventing dental erosion.
Use A Straw
Straws are great at protecting your teeth from stains, but they also work wonders for keeping your tooth enamel in tip-top shape. Anytime you’re drinking anything acidic, it’s very helpful to your teeth to use a straw. By doing so, the acid in the beverage can bypass your teeth and leave them looking and feeling great.
Remember, when it comes to brushing your teeth, harder is not always better. A soft brush and a gentle touch is always best. You’ll clean your teeth just as effectively, and won’t wear off their protective layer.
Select a toothpaste with fluoride as an ingredient. Fluoride has been proven to help protect teeth from tooth decay and cavities. If you’re particularly worried about the enamel of your teeth, brush more than the recommended two times daily and start brushing after every meal. This will remove sugar and starches that can turn into corrosive acid and wear away at your teeth.
While these are all valuable tips, the most important thing you can do for your pearly whites is brush and floss twice a day, and visit us twice a year for cleanings. If it’s been over six months since your last cleaning, schedule your appointment today!
Dr. Randall Burba is an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry accredited dentist, practicing in Salem, Massachusetts. He considers himself an artist–with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking.