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Tooth Enamel Loss: How to Prevent It

Eating calcium-rich foods promotes remineralization and prevents tooth enamel loss.

Enamel is the protective coating on your teeth. It's the hardest substance in the human body, but it's still pretty fragile. The state of your enamel has a lot to do with the way your teeth feel and look. When enamel erodes, it's easier for the dentin tissue within the teeth to become stimulated, which can really hurt. Enamel thinning also causes discoloration because it exposes the dentin, which is yellow in color. Here are some easy changes you and your family can implement in your daily lives to help prevent tooth enamel loss.

1. Skip the Soda

Soda might taste crisp and refreshing, but it tends to be full of sugar. Sugar wreaks havoc on your enamel because it encourages the growth of decay-causing bacteria. Don't be fooled by diet options either. Sometimes even the sugar-free selections are full of acids. Try swapping soda for water or unsweetened tea.

2. Give Your Mouth a Rest

If you just can't do without something fizzy, save it for mealtimes. Saliva redeposits calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions at the tooth surface, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). However, this process is not instantaneous. Saliva needs about 30 minutes to work its magic. Reduce the frequency of your snacks to ensure that your saliva has enough time to effectively restore lost minerals.

3. Chew Sugar-free Gum After Meals

Pop a piece of sugar-free gum after a meal to stimulate saliva production. Saliva washes away debris and remineralizes hard tissues of the tooth. Prolonged dry mouth, also known as xerostomia says the ADA, can promote harmful bacteria and tooth decay but chewing gum or sucking on a piece of candy can get those salivary glands back to work. Just make sure to choose something that's sugar-free!

4. Eat Cheese

Cheese and dairy products help protect your teeth in two ways, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. First, eating cheese stimulates saliva production, which you now already know is key to oral health. Cheese is also high in calcium and phosphate, both of which help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other more acidic foods. Consider finishing off your meals with a little sliver of cheese.

5. Ease Up on the Citrus

Citrus is full of vitamins and fiber, but it's also loaded with acid. This might sound a bit counter-intuitive, but if you do have a lot of citrus, wait a bit before brushing your teeth. The Mayo Clinic notes that acid weakens your enamel, and that brushing your teeth while they're in a weakened state will actually do more harm than good. So hold off on brushing, and swish with water instead.

6. Brush Gently

Brushing too hard can be really hard on your enamel. Try brushing with a toothbrush that's intended for people with sensitive teeth like Colgate® Enamel Health™ Sensitive Toothbrush. Use a toothpaste formulated to help remineralize teeth like Colgate® Enamel Health™ New Mineral Repair™ Toothpaste.

7. Drink Fluoridated Water

Drink it and rinse with it. Fluoridated water strengthens the minerals being redeposited onto your enamel during remineralization. This will make them harder to destruct during the next acid attack, which is your best defense against tooth decay.

There is a lot you can do to prevent or even reverse tooth enamel loss it in its early stages. Make healthy choices and go easy on your teeth!