Although brushing should form the foundation of your oral care, brushing may not be enough by itself to defend your teeth from the daily onslaught of bacteria, sugar and acidic foods. These attackers leave a residue that can stick to your teeth, causing the enamel of your teeth to erode. Adopting just a few simple techniques can make your next dentist appointment a smooth experience.
- Avoid Problem Foods
Some hard foods can easily damage your teeth. Popcorn, though a delicious and healthy snack, is a prime offender. Crunching down on a unpopped kernel can break a filling or damage a fragile tooth. Biting down hard on a lollipop or other hard candy can cause similar damage. Sticky foods, such as caramel and taffy, are another problem food. These treats stay in your mouth for a few minutes as you try to chew them. This gives sugar plenty of time to coat your teeth, feeding the bacteria that cause erosion. In addition, these sticky foods can pull on your teeth and may damage delicate hardware, such as bridges or permanent retainers.
- Drink Fewer Sugary and Acidic Drinks
Soda, lemonade, fruit juice and energy drinks often contain citric acids and high amounts of sugar. Regular consumption of these drinks can erode your teeth over time. If you can’t live without these sweet drinks, consider using a straw to protect your teeth. The straw will reduce the amount of time that your teeth are exposed to these damaging acids. Eating a meal while you drink these acidic drinks can also reduce the negative effects of sugar and acid.
- Practice Good Flossing Habits
Flossing helps you remove germs and leftover food particles that get caught between your teeth. Although brushing does remove some residue, flossing is a sure way to remove the particles that your brush can’t reach. For best results, floss at least once each day. Flossing before you go to bed is a good habit to start.
- Stop Harmful Habits
Some long-term habits, such as chewing on ice, can damage your teeth. When you chew on a hard substance, you create tiny cracks in your teeth. Over time, these cracks may grow larger and cause serious harm to the structure of your tooth. Grinding your teeth is another common bad habit that can cause damage. If you often feel stressed, you may unconsciously grind your teeth, and you may even grind your teeth while you sleep. A mouthguard can protect your teeth from sleep grinding.
- Consume Foods to Build Your Teeth
Some foods can prevent enamel erosion. Fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, help to stimulate saliva in your mouth. Your saliva serves as a natural defense against cavities by neutralizing the acids in your mouth. Consuming foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can boost the strength of your teeth. Milk and yogurt are some foods that are naturally high in these important nutrients.
To avoid expensive dental work, you must take excellent care of your teeth every single day. Although your toothbrush is a critical tool in your fight against cavities, you need to include a few more strategies in your arsenal to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.