We’re always being told to brush our teeth every day, floss regularly, avoid sugar and soda, and to go to the dentist. But do you know exactly why we’re supposed to do all these things? Of course, we know proper dental care decreases the risk of cavities and tooth decay, but it also plays an important and crucial role in protecting the enamel on our teeth, which is vital in keeping our teeth healthy and cavity free.
Tooth enamel is a thin layer on the outside of our teeth. As the hardest tissue in the body, our enamel protects our teeth from bacteria and decay. Tooth enamel can stain and also erode from certain foods we eat and and drinks with high sugar or acidic content.
What Enamel Does
As the protector of our teeth, enamel protects our teeth from chewing, biting, and grinding as well as insulates them from harmful temperatures and chemicals. Poor care for your teeth can lead to the erosion, chipping, and cracking of enamel—which cannot be repaired by our bodies.
Aiding in the fight against problematic teeth, the saliva in our mouths contains minerals and proteins that help protect tooth enamel. However, saliva can only do so much when it comes to the constant exposure of harmful sugars and acids from the foods and drinks we like.
How It’s Destroyed
As we expose our teeth to a variety of harmful food and drinks, enamel can erode and lead to cavities and tooth decay. There are a number of factors that contribute to the erosion of enamel. Acid is the main culprit in erosion, and it can be found in almost any soft drink as well as fruit juices. Foods that are high in sugar and starch such as candy, soft breads, and potato chips also promote erosion. Because saliva plays a role in protecting our enamel, a dry mouth may result in enamel erosion, so be sure to stay hydrated.
While there are plenty of ways tooth enamel can erode, there are also plenty of ways to protect it. You can start by decreasing the amount of acidic and starchy foods in your diet, and also stay away from foods and drinks that have high contents of sugar and acids. Using fluoride toothpaste is key, as fluoride works similarly to saliva to protect enamel.
As always, professional dental cleanings are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and protecting enamel. Give Spring Valley Dental a call today to schedule your next teeth cleaning, and we’ll check your teeth while we’re at it.