Take care of your teeth, while you still have them. Or, alternatively, if you want to have them forever.
Strengthening your teeth can be achieved by proper oral hygiene, abolishing some bad habits, and eating healthier foods. See how I avoided using the word “diet”. I know everyone hates it, but any positive physiological change (and often mental) begins with the intake of vitamin and mineral rich foods.
10 things that will make your teeth stronger:
- Limit the intake of sugar (any kind, not just artificial);
- Eat calcium-rich foods;
- Stay away from acidic foods;
- Floss twice a day, every day;
- Do not over-brush your teeth;
- Fluorite rich toothpaste is good;
- Make sure your mouth is not dry;
- Stop clenching your teeth;
- Don’t use your teeth as can openers and such;
- Stop smoking;
- Chew xylitol gum;
- Regular dental checkups (if affordable)!
I suggest you remember the bullet points but bookmark this article because all the knowledge will be dropped below.
To understand teeth strengthening, it is important to know the role of enamel.
Enamel is a substance that covers the outer layer of every tooth in your mouth. It is made out of super hard matter. In fact, the enamel is the hardest and most mineralized substance that scientists have found in our bodies.
Enamel is extremely important because it protects your teeth from erosion. It is the strongest barrier between bacteria and the inner layers of teeth. Therefore, taking care of your enamel will inevitably strengthen your teeth.
Mind What You Eat
You do not have to go on an all food restricting diet to have healthy and strong teeth. But, you do need to be careful what you eat, and how much of what you eat.
Sugary foods – all oral bacteria feed on the sugar that you consume through foods and drinks. This includes artificial sweeteners and non-artificial (fructose) sugars.
Once the bacteria has had enough to eat, it begins to form acids in your mouth. These freshly formed acids then begin to soften and wear down your enamel. Chewy candies and soft drinks are particularly hazardous to your enamel.
Most acidic foods to be avoided:
- Ice Cream
- Carbonated Water (Yeah!)
So, if no more candy and sugary drinks, then what?
Calcium has the ability to counter the acids in your mouth. Milk, cheese, and various other dairy products are usually associated with a positive effect on the bones. However, they are also an excellent choice to slow down tooth decay.
Not a fan of dairy? Here is a list of 7 foods that will better fit your diet.
Brushing is good, but flossing necessary. If you cannot do it every day, make sure you floss every 2-3 days at the very least. Especially if you are not using a fluoride-rich toothpaste.
Check out our floss vs brush post for more info.
Brush Regularly, But Not Too Regularly
Sounds crazy, I know. Over-brushing your teeth can cause the destruction of enamel as well. It can also irritate your gums and cause a variety of other mouth related diseases.
Fluoride For the Win
Often referred to as nature’s cavity fighter, fluoride has been recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) as essential for enamel strengthening. In this order of things, the ADA has approved the use of fluoride toothpastes as soon as the first tooth shows up.
Statistically speaking, gum disease is responsible for the loss of more teeth then tooth decay itself. Gingivitis, for example, can cause the gums to redden, swell and bleed. Bleeding gums open the gates of hell and bacteria begins to settle in. This inevitably leads to tooth decay and often loss of teeth.
Make sure you consume foods high in vitamin C. If not, take supplements.
Watch Out for Eating Disorders and Heartburn
Acids are not only formed inside your mouth.
Severe heartburn or stomach related disorders can help acids escape and reach your mouth and begin to destroy the enamel. Bulimia, or any other similar disorder that cause vomiting, can also attribute to acids reaching your mouth.
Chlorinated Water Kills…the Enamel
This may be a bit too far stretched, but it is worth mentioning. Some pools are not properly chlorinated. This can cause the water inside to become too acidic.
I do not expect you to drink water from the pool. However, your teeth getting wet will be enough to harm the enamel.
But, Water Also Saves Lives
There is a reason why our bodies do not last long without water. It is a gift of nature, and you need to start using it in what might seem to be vast quantities.
Drinking water will help wash down acid foods and bacteria. Even rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking a soda can help make your enamel healthier.
In this line of thought, a dry mouth also contributes to tooth decay. The flow of saliva slows down when the body goes to sleep. This is why brushing your teeth before bedtime is so important!
Stop Making Those Teeth Grinding Faces
Clenching your teeth is not just unattractive, but it also leads to attrition. Teeth-to-teeth contact wears down the dentin and makes it exposed to all elements (food, cold, hot, etc…). This causes tooth sensitivity.
Stop Biting and Chewing Stuff
Unless it is delicious food meant to go down your tummy, stop chewing it.
Pens, books, nails, coffee cup lids, and other objects that are not food related can abrade your enamel over time. The biting surfaces of the teeth will eventually wear down and result in loss of enamel.
This is probably not the place to lecture you about this particular self-destructive habit.
Smoking does not only make your teeth look yellow or give you life-shatteringly bad breath that can take down epic dragons and monsters from loving childhood books. Smoking makes you breathe through your mouth, slows down the reproduction of saliva and opens the gates of hell for bacteria to join the party.
I am not even going to talk about the possibility of cancer. Just stop smoking, please.
Chew Xylitol Gum
I left this towards the end of the list, to reward everyone who read this far.
Keeping your teeth strong is not just about removing harmful habits and foods from your life. While adding annoying habits (flossing) to your daily routines and non-tasty foods (tofu) to your diet.
Getting your enamel stronger can be about chewing gums and looking cool as well.
Xylitol is a type of sugar alcohol that fools bacteria that it is the real deal sugar. However, bacteria cannot break xylitol, and so it ends up starving. Granted you do not feed it with other sugars in the meantime.
Xylitol gums have been found to be quite helpful in maintaining good oral health.
Regular Dental Checkups (if affordable)
Most people avoid their dentist until they experience persisting pain. I cannot blame them for that, considering how expensive dental insurance is.
However, if affordable, it is recommended to check-in with your dentist twice a year. Especially for cleanups.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.