Tooth enamel is the outer protective surface that covers teeth. Even though enamel is considered very hard, it can break or wear away. There are steps that can be taken to protect dental enamel, but it cannot be regenerated, making the twice yearly visits to the dental office very important to catch potential problems before it is too late.
Enamel erosion is different from a break or chip in enamel. In erosion, over time the composition of enamel can be affected by diet, genetics, lifestyle habits, medication, etc.
• Diet – Acid in the foods and beverages consumed may harm dental enamel over time. The best way to avoid acids in beverages is with the use of a straw, which will allow drinks to bypass teeth. But if consuming a highly acidic food and beverage regimen is selected, it is best not to brush teeth within one hour as this is when the tooth’s enamel is most vulnerable. Rinsing with water is a better option.
• Genetics – The luck of the draw is our best option when our forbearer’s genes are the basis of dental health. Knowing dental history will allow the patient to take extra care and precautions, if it is known that parents or siblings have experienced dental difficulties.
• Lifestyle habits – Probably the most detrimental controllable habit that can lead to dental erosion is tobacco. Smoking and chewing contribute to stains, but much more serious dental and health issues are a sure bet with tobacco use.
• Grinding and clenching can become habitual. Usually started as a habit during sleep, many patients will grind and clench their teeth throughout the waking hours without realizing it. Wearing a protective mouth guard will aid in not only breaking this habit, but will protect the teeth in the process.
• Medication – Many pain relievers and prescribed medicines are needed to maintain a patient’s health, but can have a negative impact on the dental enamel. A discussion with your dentist on which medicines you take can lead to proactive measures to protect dental enamel.
Visits to your dental office twice per year for a clinical cleaning and thorough exam will help to catch problems before they escalate.
But in between those visits, daily brushing and flossing along with using a fluoridated rinse can help keep dental enamel healthy. Chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva flow, which is a nature’s mouth wash.
If you have questions or concerns about the health of the enamel on your teeth, contact Fielder Park Dental in Arlington TX to schedule a consultation.