As long as you are brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing each day and seeing your dentist on a regular basis, you might think you are free and clear when it comes to your dental health. Much like other aspects of your health, though, the type of environment you keep your teeth in can have a profound effect on their health. Everything you put in your mouth serves to add to your dental health or subtract from it. Learning the types of foods and drinks that can cause your mouth to become unhealthy allows you to either steer clear of them altogether if you already have dental issues or use them in moderation to help reduce the likelihood that they will cause you problems and lead you to the dentist.
What is Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the thin and hard outer covering of the teeth. While it covers the crown of your tooth – which is the visible part that everyone sees – enamel does not give your teeth their color. Dentin determines the shade of white, yellow or gray your teeth are. The enamel is designed to protect your teeth. Even though it is the hardest substance in your body, it can still be very vulnerable when it comes to damage. Once your enamel is damaged, its restoration might be possible. However, it could be extensive and expensive.
Protect Your Tooth Enamel
In order to avoid dental procedures such as bonding for less serious instances of enamel loss or even a crown in the event of more serious cases of lost enamel, you should take a look at your diet. Some foods and drinks can wear away at the enamel and damage it.
Avoid the Foods and Beverages Below if Possible
Many foods and drinks – even those that you might not think about being so – contain acids that eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Some of the worst offenders are:
- fruit juices
- carbonated drinks, including diet soda
Medical Conditions That Can Destroy Tooth Enamel
Although not a food or drink, there are some medical conditions that can cause your teeth to experience loss of its enamel. During acid reflux, the acid from your stomach travels back up into the esophagus and can bathe the mouth and teeth, resulting in a weakening of the tooth enamel. Bulimia, a condition characterized by binge eating that is then followed by purging of some matter – often in the form of self-induced vomiting. Both of these medical conditions need to be treated by a physician as soon as possible. One of the many side effects is the acid from your stomach’s contents can erode the enamel from your teeth, making it weak.
Although there are some things you can do to minimize the damage caused by the above foods and drinks, such as reducing the amounts and frequency that you ingest them and using a straw to keep acidic drinks away from your teeth, only your dental professional can assess the damage caused by them.