Just as soil and rock can be eroded by water and other elements, teeth can suffer from erosion. This is despite the fact that enamel is harder than any other material in the human body — including bone! Your teeth are under constant pressure from outside forces. And since enamel erosion is one of the first steps to dental decay, preventing it is pivotal to avoiding trips to the dentist.
To keep your teeth in tip-top condition, try to avoid the following harmful habits as much as possible.
1. Going to bed without brushing your teeth
Almost everyone has fallen asleep without brushing their teeth at some point in their life. But sleeping without brushing the food particles and plaque from your teeth can cause enamel erosion.
Plaque is a sticky film that clings to your teeth. This film contains particles of food and oral bacteria that feed on that food and subsequently cause enamel erosion. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from your teeth and helps you flush away any remaining food particles from your mouth.
If you sleep without brushing your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth will feed on the food particles, reproduce, and produce acids that cause enamel erosion.
2. Sipping acidic drinks slowly
Soft drinks are full of acidic compounds like phosphoric acid, carbonic acid and citric acid. These acids can damage tooth enamel. And if you drink acidic soft drinks slowly, the acids in those drinks will gradually erode the enamel of your teeth. Try to avoid soft drinks or drink them as quickly as possible to avoid bathing your teeth in acid for a prolonged period.
3. Chewing sticky and sugary candies often
Chewy candies that are laden with sugar can stick to teeth. The simple sugars in sugary candies are easy for oral bacteria to eat and digest. And since oral bacteria live on your teeth, they can easily feast on the sticky and sugary particles of candies. Once they have eaten though, oral bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel.
4. Failing to address dry mouth in a timely manner
Dry mouth contributes to enamel erosion because a dry mouth is an ideal environment for oral bacteria. Saliva contains antibacterial agents that kill oral bacteria. Saliva also helps to neutralize acid. So if you become dehydrated because of medication, sweating, or vomiting and diarrhea, be sure to drink plenty of water to stimulate saliva production.
These four habits can damage your tooth enamel over time. To keep your tooth enamel in good shape, avoid these habits as much as possible. Otherwise, you may put yourself at increased risk of tooth decay. For more information, contact a dentist near you.