When it comes to protecting your teeth, your first line of defense against tooth decay and cavities is tooth enamel, the outermost covering of your teeth that protects the more vulnerable dentin and tooth pulp below. Your enamel comes equipped for the job, since it is the hardest substance in your body. However, because it does not have living cells, it cannot grow back once it is lost.
The number one enemy of tooth enamel is acid, which eats away at the enamel, weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to decay. Because tooth enamel protects the lower layers of your teeth from acids and plaque, protecting it is vital to your oral health. Be sure to clean your teeth at least twice a day and limit your intake of these harmful items as much as possible:
- Fruit juice
- Flavored water that has citric acid or other additives
- Sugary snacks like cakes, cookies, candies
- Starchy snacks like chips, crackers, pretzels and bread
- Citrus fruit
Of course, it’s not just about what you leave out of your diet that protects tooth enamel. There are foods that can help strengthen tooth enamel, so let’s take a look at them.
Calcium: Probably the number one food choice for healthy teeth is milk, which is rich in calcium to help form strong teeth and bones. Cheese, which is also high in calcium, also helps balance your oral pH, reducing the effect of acids that attack the enamel. Besides cheese and other low-fat dairy items like yogurt, you can find calcium in fortified rice and soy milk, sardines and salmon in the can, almonds, and dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach.
Vitamin D: This helps your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is abundant in milk, salmon, margarine, as well as soy and rice beverages which are fortified.
Phosphorus: Your teeth also need phosphorus, which you can find in eggs, meat and fish.
Vitamin A: This essential vitamin can be found in sweet potatoes, red peppers, mangoes and kale.
Beta-carotene: Look for fruits and vegetables which are orange to maximize your beta-carotene intake.
Magnesium: Foods like bananas, whole grains, and spinach are rich in magnesium.
For healthy tooth enamel, you also want to make sure are hydrated throughout the day. Water supports saliva flow and keeps your mouth debris-free while helping all the bodily tissues.
Healthy eating habits, combined with daily tooth brushing and flossing along with regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth and gums stay strong for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If you would like to have our friendly, professional hygiene team of Hannah, Marissa, and Nicole provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, please call to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.