Your tooth enamel is a vital component to your oral health, yet do you know what it is and what it protects? You may want to inquire with us, at Zen Smiles Miami, during your next teeth cleaning. If you can’t wait, please enjoy this article about unsuspecting food and drinks that cause harm to your enamel.
So, back to enamel. Tooth enamel is the outermost layer (most visible) of your teeth that is highly mineralized, and is only partly responsible for the color of your teeth. Enamel is deeply protective from harmful bacteria and prevents your teeth from damage and decay. Its role in oral protection is to guard from acidic substances and plaque, as well as temperature variations that can cause sensitivity.
If your enamel is destroyed, as of yet, it cannot be replaced. Your body is unable to synthesize enamel because it’s void of living cells, thus there is no hope for regeneration. So, treat your enamel well — help protect it and it will protect you.
How to prevent enamel erosion
The best way to spare and protect enamel is through your diet. This means consuming a diet full of whole foods and reducing highly-processed ones. Sugary foods and processed, starchy carbs are major culprits of enamel erosion, so avoiding candy and potato chips will do you good! If you do choose to consume them research has found it’s not the amount you consume but the consistency, so if you’re an energy-drink-a-day kind of person, you’re doing more damage. To undo some of the sugary, carby damage, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and brush afterwards if you’re able.
If you’re interested in the unsuspecting enamel destroyers, read more below.
Unsuspecting things that damage your enamel
- Dried fruit – This food is found in various trail mixes and is delightful on its own. Dried fruit can actually be worse for your teeth than processed candy because of it’s overly sticky consistency. The dried fruit debris can stick to nooks and crannies within your teeth and hide out allowing bacteria to flourish and destroy your enamel in addition to causing cavities.
- Lemon water – If you do an internet search on the benefits of lemon water you’ll find many articles boasting how wonderful it is, but that is not what we’re debating! We want to to bring attention to the high acidity that lemons contain. Highly acidic fruits, such as lemons, damage tooth enamel, so try not to do it everyday. It’s also important to wait 30 minutes after you’ve had it before brushing your teeth.
- Apple cider vinegar – Similar to lemon water, apple cider vinegar has great beneficial properties, but if you drink it, its acidity causes damage. The acid also leaves the tooth in a weakened state, which is why you want to wait 30 minutes before brushing. If you decide to use apple cider vinegar, you can find it in capsule form. Or, try mixing it in eight ounces of water or drinking it through a straw.
- Ice – Chewing on ice in the summer months is not only refreshing, but also cooling! The issue results when people habitually chew ice which can chip and break teeth. Continuous ice chewing can wear the enamel and cause even further damage to your teeth.
- Sugar-free soda – When people choose sugar-free soda over regular soda, it’s likely with the intention that it’s not as harmful because it’s sugar-free. Unfortunately, soda is still very acidic, and constant exposure to it (drinking it throughout the day) never let’s your teeth recover from the onslaught of acid.
- Kombucha – Like lemon water and apple cider vinegar, kombucha has been represented as a health elixir, but again, it’s highly acidic! The naturally occurring probiotics are wonderful, so help neutralize the acids by drinking water alongside it.
While some of these beverages may be surprising because of their health benefits, the thing that all of these drinks have in common are their high acidity content. So if you choose to partake in these beverages, ensure your dilute them in water or rinse your teeth with water afterwards.
If you’re guilty of drinking copious amounts of acidic beverages, schedule a routine teeth cleaning today with us and we’ll take a look at the state of your enamel!
Schedule an appointment today!