Ask a Dentist

May 31, 2022

Q: What Are Some Enamel-Eroding Habits You Should Avoid?

A destroyed sugar tooth with medical instruments on a black background. Concept of dental medicine.

Your tooth enamel - the hard, outer layer of your teeth - protects your teeth against tooth decay. In fact, it’s the hardest mineral substance in your body, even stronger than your bones. Despite that, certain everyday habits put your enamel at risk. If you don’t take proper care of your enamel, it will erode and unfortunately, cannot be rebuilt. But you can try to prevent enamel erosion

Here are four enamel-eroding habits to avoid: 

Brushing After Eating

Everybody wants strong and healthy teeth, and brushing is a big part of making that happen. Although knowing how to brush is important, knowing when to brush is essential as well. Brushing your teeth immediately after a meal can affect your tooth enamel. The Mayo Clinic warns that when you consume foods containing citric acids like oranges and grapefruits, brushing too soon afterwards can be bad for your teeth. It’s because acidic foods break down the enamel causing it to be too soft for immediate brushing. If you want to brush your teeth after eating, it’s best to wait at least an hour. 

Brushing Too Vigorously

Over-brushing your teeth can increase your risk of dental abrasion (the loss of tooth structure) as well as gum recession. The aggressive toothbrush use can wear away at the enamel and eventually, the softer dentin in the tooth will become exposed. In turn, the exposed dentin can lead to tooth sensitivity. To prevent this, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you’re unsure whether you’re brushing too hard, check your toothbrush. If the bristles look frayed or flattened within a few weeks of use, this indicates you’re using too much pressure. 

Consuming Too Much Acidic Foods And Drinks

Without effective dental hygiene, consuming highly acidic foods and drinks regularly can eventually cause the enamel to wear away. You don’t have to give up acidic foods and drinks completely to prevent enamel erosion. A few tips to keep your enamel intact are:

  • Quit sucking on lemon, limes or other acidic fruits. Putting these fruits against your teeth can soften the enamel.
  • Use a straw when drinking fruit juice. It will help avoid the drink from coming in direct contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods.
  • Eating cheese after an acidic fruit can neutralize the acids by raising the pH levels in your mouth.

Consuming Too Much Sugar

The harmful bacteria in your mouth love feeding on sugars and carbohydrates. Without proper oral hygiene, the bacteria can destroy the enamel. If left untreated, a cavity will form. Cutting down on sugar is a good start to remineralizing the enamel. Other ways to promote remineralization include stimulating your saliva flow by chewing sugarless gum or eating high-fiber fruits and vegetables. 

It’s crucial to limit these enamel-eroding habits and practice oral care that proactively protects your enamel. A proper oral hygiene routine includes visiting your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleaning and checkup. If you’re looking for a reliable dental clinic in Winnipeg, Dental Image Therapy Centres has two clinics in Garden City Shopping Centre and St. Vital Centre. 

Haven’t visited a dentist in a while? Schedule an appointment with us today, we accept new patients. 

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