11 Apr 2018
April 11, 2018

7 Tips to Protect Your Teeth

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The exterior surface of your teeth is a hard, strong substance known as enamel. It protects the delicate interior structures of your teeth, and gives you a shiny white smile. However, enamel can become worn down and even decayed over time. Here’s how to keep your pearly whites structurally sound and looking their best. Top Tips to Protect Your Teeth

1. Limit Sweets

Sugary foods leave behind a feast for naturally-occurring mouth bacteria. These bacteria can actually attach to your teeth, creating a substance known as plaque. Over time, plaque can harden into tartar, a tough substance that is difficult to remove. The byproduct of these bacterial colonies is a strong acid that can wear away tooth enamel.

Be especially careful of chewy candies that stick to your teeth, as well as sodas, which contain not only sugar but also acids. Artificial sweeteners are a better choice, but sodas made with these still contain acids. Whenever possible, opt for plain water to quench your thirst.

2. Brush Carefully

Although brushing and flossing your teeth is the most basic way to prevent tooth decay, over-brushing can actually be harmful. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and hold it at a 45-degree angle to your gum line. Use short, back and forth strokes with moderate pressure, brushing for 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth.

Timing also matters. After consuming citrus fruits or sugary foods, rinse your mouth with clear, plain water. Wait an hour before brushing your teeth, as sugars and acids can soften the enamel and increase your risk for damaging it with your toothbrush.

3. Eat Enamel-Hardening Foods

Calcium is nature’s solution to hardening tooth enamel, as well as strengthening bones. Choose foods that are rich in calcium, such as dairy products, on a regular basis. If you don’t like or cannot tolerate dairy, look for foods that are enriched with calcium or consider taking a supplement.

4. Treat Digestive Issues

Acid reflux and related conditions can wreak havoc on tooth enamel. So can conditions that cause vomiting, including the eating disorder known as bulimia. If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues, treat them as soon as possible to help protect your teeth.

5. Avoid Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. It also occurs in older adults, and is a common symptom of dehydration. To battle dry mouth, be sure to hydrate well before and after every workout. Sip water throughout the day to keep your mouth fresh, and consider sucking on sugar free hard candy or chewing sugarless gum to promote saliva production. If these home remedies aren’t sufficient, talk to your doctor about possible dry mouth treatments.

6. Use Fluoride

Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel and can even reverse early tooth decay. It also helps your teeth resist the acids and bacteria that can wear away the enamel. Choose fluoridated toothpaste and, if you are prone to cavities, a fluoridated mouthwash as well.

7. Come see us regularly

Besides regular brushing and flossing, coming in twice a year is key to protecting your tooth enamel. Our hygienists will perform a thorough cleaning, leaving your mouth cleaner and fresher than is possible with simple at-home oral hygiene. Dr’s Galloway and Song will look for soft spots in the enamel, cavities, and other issues, all of which are easiest to treat when detected early.

We will also advise you of any issues that could cause trouble for your tooth enamel, such as grinding your teeth and help you develop a plan of action. In addition,we consider your personal and family dental history and help you take proactive steps to overcome a tendency towards cavities or any other ongoing concerns.

Your tooth enamel is strong and hard, but many things can weaken it. Fortunately, protecting your enamel can be as easy as following a few simple tips.

At Family Dental Care of Bellevue, we are committed to providing quality dental care to our patients and their families. We are proud to have been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. If you are ready to take the first steps toward improving your dental health, we invite you to call 425-643-5778 today to make an appointment for your initial consultation.

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