Foods high in starch (rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, corn) or sugar (cakes, cookies, many fruit cups and cereals, even energy bars) leave your mouth intensely acidic for hours after you've eaten. Since most of us regularly consume starches and sugars, our enamel is often under constant assault. Chewing gum between meals, however, helps you even the odds, as it elevates saliva production, and, as we mentioned earlier, minerals in saliva strengthen enamel. You can further protect your enamel by chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol in it, an ingredient that has been proven to diminish the harmful acids found in food and drinks [source: WebMD].
Although treatment techniques vary by person, the same preventative measures apply to everyone. By taking the simple steps discussed in this article, you can limit additional enamel loss or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Happy brushing!
More Great Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). "Oral Health Topics: Saliva." 2011. (Sept. 01, 2011) http://www.ada.org/3005.aspx?currentTab=1
- Academy of General Dentistry. "Signs of Tooth Erosion." 2011. (Aug. 26, 2011)
- Better Health Channel. "Teeth and Drug Use." June 22, 2011. (Aug. 26, 2011)
- Dena a. Ali, D.D.S., et al. "Dental Erosion Caused by Silent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2002. (Aug. 26, 2011) http://jada.ada.org/content/133/6/734.full
- Elkins, Lucy. "How going for a swim (or drinking herbal tea) could ruin your smile." Daily Mail. Dec. 7, 2010. (Sept. 1, 2011) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1334266/How-going-swim-drinking-herbal-tea-ruin-smile.html
- Magee, Elaine. "Sugar Shockers: Foods Surprisingly High in Sugar." WebMD. 2011. (Sep. 3, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar
- Robin Lloyd. "Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel." Live Science. March 21, 2007. (Aug. 31, 2011) http://www.livescience.com/7198-acids-popular-sodas-erode-tooth-enamel.html
- WebMD. "Tooth Enamel Erosion and Restoration." 2011. (Aug. 26, 2011)
- WebMD. "Your Teeth and Dental Bonding." 2009. (Aug. 26, 2011)
An abscessed tooth isn't very fun to deal with, but can an abscessed tooth kill you? Find out at HowStuffWorks.