tooth care

Enamel is the smooth outer covering of your teeth that gives them their pearly white color, but this substance isn’t just there for looks. As the hardest and most mineralized part of your body, tooth enamel is essential for protecting teeth and preventing decay. However, enamel often erodes over time and leads to problems like cavities, abscesses and sensitivity. Read on to learn how you can protect your enamel with smart tooth care practices.

Use a Soft Toothbrush

Fans of hard and medium toothbrushes may have noticed that these types of dental hygiene tools are increasingly hard to find. That’s because most dentists recommend soft bristles to avoid wear and tear on your enamel and gums. Harder bristles can remove slightly more plaque, but it’s not worth the trade-off. If you feel like you need a hard-bristled brush to get your teeth clean, consider using an electric toothbrush instead for extra polishing power without the risk.

Address Malocclusions

Orthodontic problems like crowding, spacing and uneven bites can cause teeth to hit each other incorrectly while chewing. Over time, this leads to uneven wear and loss of enamel. If you have a malocclusion, consider seeing an orthodontist for a consultation. Although the upfront price can be steep, investing in braces or invisible aligners to protect your teeth can help them last longer and save you money on dental care.

Chew Carefully

One of the most common causes of enamel wear is easily preventable. Misusing your teeth for things like opening packages, twisting off bottlecaps and cracking open sunflower seeds can chip your enamel or even break a tooth. Save your chompers by using a tool or your hands for these tasks instead. Remember, fingernails grow back but tooth enamel doesn’t.

Avoid Sugary Drinks

It’s common knowledge that sugar is bad news for your teeth. The sweet stuff provides a perfect food for the bad bacteria that eat away at your enamel and cause tooth decay. Sugary drinks are even worse than sweet foods because the liquid surrounds your teeth and gets into every nook and cranny. Protect your enamel by saying no to soda and reaching for a glass of water or milk instead.

If you’re already experiencing enamel erosion, all is not lost. Crowns, veneers, sealants and special toothpastes are just some of the options that can help restore or replace enamel. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss the extent of the damage and develop a treatment plan.