Taking care of your tooth enamel is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy smile. Enamel is the thin outer covering on your teeth that protects the tissues inside. While enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, it’s not a living tissue, which means that once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to strengthen and protect your enamel. Here are 5 tips for keeping your teeth strong.
Found in most drinking water and toothpaste, fluoride hardens your enamel and re-mineralizes your teeth by pushing calcium and phosphates back into the tooth. If you aren’t already brushing your teeth regularly (which you should be), now you have another reason to maintain a routine cleaning schedule.
High-calcium foods can counter decay-causing acid in your mouth and help keep your teeth strong. Milk, cheese and other dairy products can help. If you don’t eat dairy, look for foods high in calcium like kale, broccoli, salmon and almonds or opt for foods that have been enriched with calcium.
While you want to brush your teeth regularly—twice a day with a soft-bristled brush—you don’t want to overdo it. Brushing too fast and too hard can actually wear down your enamel rather than strengthening it. And if you’ve just eaten citrus or sweets, wait for up to an hour before you brush, as acidic foods can soften enamel, which may make it easier to damage.
Sugary foods and drinks are one of the biggest culprits of enamel erosion. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, creating acids that soften and wear away your enamel. Even if you drink only sugar-free soft drinks, the acid in these beverages will wear down your enamel as well.
Drink water regularly to keep your mouth clean and moist, allowing you to avoid dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria, and enables you to fight the effects of acidic foods. Not thirsty? Chew sugarless gum to help maintain enough moisture in your mouth.
Even if you follow these tips, be sure you’re getting regular check-ups with your dentists, every 6 months if possible. Not only can your dentist spot and correct problems in your mouth, he or she will also make sure you’re getting the right amount of fluoride to keep your teeth strong.
Straighter teeth are easier to keep clean and healthy than crooked or crowded smiles, and they offer a host of other benefits. Get started on a straighter smile by taking the free SmileDirectClub Smile Assessment today!