The enamel on your teeth is designed to protect them. In fact, the fine mineral coating is considered the toughest substance in your body. However, even though it is incredibly strong, it can still suffer damage. Whether the mineral coating begins to dissolve over time or the enamel itself starts breaking down, your teeth’s enamel is still vulnerable.

Here are five ways to help keep your tooth enamel healthy and strong.

Drastically cut down on your sugar intake

Sugar is the natural enemy of your tooth enamel. Sugar can stick to your tooth surfaces and react with a kind of bacteria that produces a type of acid that can ultimately deteriorate your enamel.

Everyone knows that foods like cookies and candies contain a great deal of sugar, but you may be ingesting extra sugar in places you wouldn’t expect, such as:

  • Fruit-filled yogurts
  • Sports drinks and fruit juice sodas
  • Dried fruit and fruit snacks
  • Granola bars
  • Cough drops

Keep in mind that heavy starch-laden foods such as bread, pasta, and potato chips will turn into sugar if left on tooth surfaces.

Rinse your mouth after eating high-acidic foods

Your enamel’s worst enemy is acid, which is found in countless beverages and foods. For example, several fruit juices have high citric acid levels. Both regular and diet sodas contain high levels of acid and are considered bad for teeth in general.

However, how much acid you consume isn’t the only problem. How long your enamel and teeth are actually exposed to the acid is another issue for concern. In other words, it’s okay to eat grapefruit, oranges, and other citrus-rich fruits, but a bad habit to suck on orange or lemon slices.

It’s best to limit the number of high acid beverages and sodas you drink, and once you’re done with them, don’t brush your teeth right away since the acid will literally soften your tooth enamel for about an hour afterwards and may cause even further damage. Just rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is enough.

Stop grinding your teeth

If you have a bad habit of grinding or chomping your teeth, whether you’re stressed or asleep, it’s likely you’re causing damage to your tooth alignment and jaws. This means you’re at risk for fracturing the enamel on your teeth. Night guards and other dental appliances are available to alleviate this problem.

Avoid biting or chewing non-food items

While your enamel does a great job at helping your strong teeth break up food, it’s not supposed to break down plastic, wood, or metal. Just because your enamel is super hard doesn’t mean it can’t be fractured. Damaging items may include:

  • Pens and pencils
  • Fingernails
  • Plastic straws
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Ice

Brush your teeth and gums gently

Brushing your teeth two or three times a day is crucial for good oral hygiene. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Too much force will inevitably damage your tooth enamel. If your teeth and/or gums are hurting after you brush, chances are you’re overdoing it.

Although tooth enamel is considered the strongest substance in the human body, ultimately it’s up to you to take care of it. At Grace and Bowman Orthodontics, we work with our patients to help them create good oral habits. We provide orthodontic treatment to kids, teens and adults, but it’s up to the patient to maintain the health of his or her teeth before, during, and after treatment. Contact Grace and Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville to schedule your consultation.