The enamel that covers and protects the insides of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body. As tough as it is, though, enamel is exposed to a host of challenges.
Acidic drinks like soda and coffee can weaken enamel. The friction from biting and chewing hard foods can wear away enamel. Sugary foods can promote bacteria growth, and those bacteria secrete acid that eats at enamel. Even brushing too hard can lead to enamel loss.
Not all challenges to your dental enamel happen in the mouth. The aging process usually results in a thinning of enamel. A beautiful smile requires thick enough enamel to catch and reflect the light and to hide the darker dentin layer beneath. If the enamel is too thin, you can whiten all you want and still not get the results you hope for.
To paraphrase an old saying, take of care of your enamel and it’ll take care of you.
Enamel is composed of minerals, mostly calcium and phosphorus. Those are the minerals that are lost over the course of time. You can help keep your enamel strong by incorporating the following into your diet.
You might not think it, but dairy products like cheese and yogurt are good for your teeth. Cheese raises the pH in your mouth for a while after you eat it. Less acid means less enamel loss. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, both of which strengthen enamel.
Yogurt has the same enamel building blocks as cheese, plus an added benefit. The probiotics (“good bacteria) in yogurt can compete with and suppress the growth of teeth-harming bacteria. Avoid brands that contain added sugar; you don’t want to provide fuel for “bad” bacteria.
Whichever dairy product you choose, be sure that you brush thoroughly afterward.
“Eat your greens!” is probably said by mothers all over the world, and for good reason. Leafy greens like kale and spinach provide a host of nutrients including calcium, folic acid, and more. Eating leafy greens as a side dish or mixed raw into a salad are great ways of adding them to your diet.
The bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease normally get washed off the teeth by beverages and the saliva that we produce. Crunchy vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery require quite a bit of chewing, which promotes saliva production. Not only that, but crunchy fruits and vegetables help provide the nutrients that your enamel needs.
Most nuts are low in sugar and also good sources of calcium and protein. Almonds – whole or sliced – are a great choice. Make a handful of almonds a nutritious part of your lunch. Or toss sliced almonds on your salad or add them to selected dishes.
With no calories, no sugar, and exactly what your body needs, water is the hands-down winner of beverages. Water also benefits your teeth by washing away harmful bacteria without giving them any additional sugar to fuel their growth. Make water a regular occurrence throughout the day to help your enamel and your gums stay healthy.
When Your Enamel Needs Help
Bad things can happen to good teeth. When you’re in need of dental care, call Highland Advanced Dental Care in Highland Township, MI at 248-329-3552 for an appointment.