Over the last several months, we’ve talked a lot about gingivitis and how gum disease can affect your oral health. However, thus far we haven’t talked enough about the health of your actual teeth and how to protect or restore the enamel that coats them.
What is Tooth Enamel, Anyway?
Before we jump into how to repair any tooth enamel that you may have lost, let’s first talk about what tooth enamel is in the first place. Enamel is the hard, translucent outer covering of each tooth that covers the visible part of your tooth (the part that you can see above your gum line). It protects the rest of your tooth from normal wear and tear that you put your teeth through every day: eating, drinking, grinding or talking. The enamel also protects your teeth from extreme temperatures and chemicals.
Chips or cracks in the enamel can’t be repaired, and enamel is subject to erosion from acids. Drinking a lot of sugary sodas or fruit drinks, dry mouth syndromes, high sugar diets, acid reflux, some medications, poor oral hygiene, and even genetics can contribute to eroding your tooth enamel.
Can You Restore Tooth Enamel?
In truth, tooth enamel can’t really be restored – it can only be hardened and protected. Here are a few ways that you can protect and retain your enamel:
Avoid Sugary Drinks and Brush Your Teeth
The easiest way to start protecting your enamel from decay is to examine your diet and oral hygiene habits. Are there any places in your diet or routine where you could be healthier? Sugary drinks can promote acid production, but if you aren’t consistent with your oral hygiene, you could be letting the acid win even if you don’t drink much soda.
We’ve talked about plaque in depth before – the sticky, white mess that food particles turn into when they aren’t brushed away – so remember, this is the stuff that can turn into the acids that erode your enamel. Consistent brushing and flossing will help keep the plaque away, but also switching to a fluoride toothpaste and using a fluoride mouthwash can help strengthen and remineralization of your teeth.
Use Tap Water Over Bottle Water
Using tap water over bottled water isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for your teeth too. Many water municipalities add fluoride to the water supply, helping to strengthen the communites’ teeth and decrease tooth decay. Drinking more tap water helps introduce more fluoride to your teeth.
Supplementing a healthy diet with the right vitamins can help strengthen and remineralize your teeth naturally. A Vitamin D supplement in your diet can dramatically help you protect and strengthen your enamel, as well as consuming healthy fats like cultured butter and coconut oil.
Recent studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum can actually help your teeth. In addition to having a scrubbing or brushing effect, sugarless gum promotes saliva production, one of the leading methods to prevent tooth decay. Try chewing Xylitol gum to help refresh your mouth after eating.
Talk to Your Fuquay Varina Dentist
For more serious measures, you can talk to your doctor about fluoride treatments to help strengthen and remineralize your teeth. In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe a fluoride gel for your teeth for use at home.
In cases of severe tooth decay, more dramatic measures might be taken by your Fuquay Varina dentist. Crowns, veneers, fillings, and sealants can be long-term solutions to tooth decay and erosion problems. Your dentist will help you may an informed decision about what options would work best for your teeth.
Contact Hamby Family Dental Center today with questions about tooth decay
If you’re looking for more information about enamel erosion or would like to speak to a Fuquay Varina dentist more about fluoride treatments, contact Hamby Family Dental Center today. Call us at 919-552-2431 or request an appointment.