Enamel is one of the most resilient substances on Earth, second only to diamonds. Your enamel is the outer layer of your teeth, and made of mineral crystals. While this layer is incredibly strong, acid produced by bacteria inside your mouth can wear away the minerals, creating tiny holes in your enamel. The acid will then attack the next layer of your tooth, the dentin, which is not as hard as enamel. The decay will continue until it reaches the inside chamber of your tooth, the pulp, infecting your blood vessels and nerves. In order to protect your teeth, you must learn how to protect your tooth enamel.
Saliva is a natural defense against tooth decay. It contains phosphate and calcium minerals that can strengthen enamel and repair tooth decay. Saliva can also neutralize the acid from bacteria. To support saliva, you can drink lots of water and rinse your mouth out after you eat, as this will dislodge food debris. Most tap water also contains fluoride, which protects your teeth. Fluoride replaces minerals that have been lost in the enamel, and coating your teeth with fluoride through water or ADA approved fluoridated toothpastes can help protect your teeth.
Sugars in certain food can cause oral bacteria to produce more acid. You should avoid foods or drinks high in sugar or starch, such as sodas or cookies. Snacking in between meals can also cause tooth decay. Each time you eat, the acid attacks your teeth, so limiting the exposure will give your teeth more time to repair their enamel.
Besides what you eat and drink, it is important to follow your dentist’s guidelines on oral health. Make sure to brush your teeth and floss at least twice a day, and to see your dentist every six months (or as often as recommended) for a dental checkup and cleaning. If your enamel is particularly weak, we can apply topical fluoride to strengthen the enamel, or a dental sealant (thin, plastic coating) over the tooth to protect it from bacteria and acid while your enamel regains its integrity.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.