Tooth enamel is the substance on the surface of our teeth that helps to protect them from decay and general deterioration. When children are young, parents should engage them in healthy habits that will extend the strength and longevity of tooth enamel and there are numerous actions that can be taken to achieve this goal. One of the major objectives to accomplish is to develop good habits instead of bad habits. When bad habits are formed, it becomes increasingly difficult as time goes on to change or break those habits. As bad habits continue to be added to the growth process, the tendency is to lapse into unhealthy lifestyles and eventually experience the consequences of the resulting illnesses that may happen over time.
Usually, it’s never too late to change bad habits, but establishing healthy habits while children are young will make it easier for them to maintain these beneficial routines throughout their lives, saving them a lot of anguish in the process. Protecting enamel is one of the most important goals when it comes to preserving effective oral health. The following are several suggestions that’ll help to get people started on the right track to healthy teeth and gum conditions.
Maintain A Wholesome Diet
Our eyes and taste buds determine a lot of what is chosen when it comes to eating. Food that looks appetizing and tastes delicious will become the main preference in our diets. Unfortunately, if we haven’t learned about choosing what’s healthy, as we choose what looks and tastes good, great harm can be done to the human body and a lot of that harm can start in the teeth and gums. A common response that comes along with eating healthily is that the diet will consist of unappetizing and boring foods. This conclusion arises after people have become accustomed to eating certain groups of food that appeal to their taste buds and any foods outside this group are considered to be unpalatable and therefore, unacceptable. Vegetables are one of these food groups that many people, especially children, find hard to accept. This is why it’s extremely important that parents begin working with children when they’re young so that they become used to eating healthy choices of food, so it will become second nature to them and they won’t eat any other way.
1. Sugar: A Major Culprit
A good rule to learn first is to limit the consumption of sugar in the diet. When certain types of bacteria stick to the surfaces of teeth, plaque will build on the teeth. When sugar is added to this combination, acid is formed and it begins to infect the teeth, causing tooth decay. Limiting the intake of sugary foods and items such as candy, certain desserts, soda, and other sugar-sweetened drinks, will help to maintain an environment in the mouth that will minimize the production of plaque and tooth decay. Although artificial sweeteners are the better option, it must also be kept in mind that they too are acidic and cause damage to the enamel after long-term use.
2. Include Nutritious Foods
As we strive to keep sugar out of the diet, think about including nutritious foods in a well-balanced diet. For instance, eating the traditional three meals a day of breakfast, lunch, and dinner with very few in-between snacks is a good start to maintaining a wholesome diet. The five food groups to choose from are protein, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. While these food groups are good for the entire body, dairy products such as cheese, some yogurts, and milk play a significant role in the production of healthy teeth and gums. This is because they’re rich in calcium and calcium impedes the development of acidity in the mouth.
3. Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water
There was a time when the amount of water to drink was put quite simply: eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day or a total of 64 ounces per day. Now it’s advised that we consult with doctors, nutritionists, or other medical professionals to help us determine how much water we should drink. However, the importance of drinking water hasn’t changed in that it’s still a necessary component in our diet if we are to maintain good health. Water helps to maintain saliva production in the mouth, and both are instrumental in washing away harmful bacteria and acidity in the mouth. The amount of water to drink will differ for children, women, and men, and proper consumption ranges between 40 – 100 ounces per day, depending on age, gender, and lifestyle. The important thing to keep in mind is to remain hydrated throughout all seasons of the year, not just during warm and hot seasons.
With regard to water, the subjects of water conditioning and water sanitizing should also be discussed. After all, we’re talking about water that will be ingested into and used on our bodies, so the water should be treated for the removal of harmful contaminants and chemicals from the water source before the water is used.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste/Mouthwash
The American Dental Association and the dentistry profession have considered fluoride to be one of the best anti-cavity minerals that aid in strengthening tooth enamel, as it repairs decay that may have begun to develop. A good dentist will advise the use of toothpaste and mouthwashes that contain fluoride beginning in early childhood and continuing throughout our adult life. We should remain aware of the fact that using too much force to brush our teeth can also break down tooth enamel, so choosing the correct toothbrush is important. When dealing with children, a medical professional in the field of Pediatrics might advise using a soft-bristled toothbrush. As we get older, choosing between a medium and a hard-bristled toothbrush could work better.
Because of its beneficial properties, fluoride has been an addition to toothpaste, mouthwash, and water for more than 60 years. It was discovered that this mineral helped to reverse early signs of tooth decay as it repaired damaged enamel. However, it was found that despite using products containing fluoride, some people still experienced problems with multiple cavities and tooth decay. Thus, prescription toothpaste, having a higher concentration of fluoride, was created. Since excessive exposure to fluoride can be dangerous, prescription toothpaste is only available and monitored by dentists. Specific usage instructions are applied when using this toothpaste, and some of those instructions are as follows:
- substitute one of the 2 – 3 daily toothbrushing sessions with prescription toothpaste, remembering not to swallow it
- do not rinse, eat, or drink anything after brushing for at least 30 – 60 minutes to allow the toothpaste to continue working its beneficial effects in the mouth
Keep in mind that prescription toothpaste is only available within the dentistry field, not over the counter or at local pharmacies. It must be prescribed by your dentist and this product is usually carried in many of their offices. All instructions for using this toothpaste will be given during a dental visit and these instructions should be precisely followed.
The mouth needs to always remain moist. A dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands cease to function properly, and the necessary moisture disappears. There can be many causes of dry mouth, but some common causes are not being sufficiently hydrated, smoking, the side effects of certain or several combinations of medications, and undergoing some types of medical therapy.
Regarding the progression of tooth decay, saliva helps to limit the growth of bacteria, defuse the acids that develop from bacteria, and wash away food particles. If dry mouth becomes persistent, and the patient begins to experience other problems in addition to tooth and gum deterioration (such as difficulty when swallowing or bad breath), they should consult their dentist or primary care physician so the cause of the condition can be assessed, and proper treatment can be initiated.
Any kind of pain brings misery and severe discomfort along with it and dealing with toothache pain can be at the top of the list. Of course, it’s always best to learn the specific cause of the pain, such as an abscess, erupted tooth, cavities, or gum and tooth infection. No matter what the cause, when severe pain strikes at a time when we can’t get to the dentist, then alternate remedies must be considered. Rinsing the area with warm salt water or a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution, applying a cold or hot compress to the affected area, or taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or Motrin are a few of the immediate remedies. However, if there’s a serious problem that requires medical attention, then these remedies will only work temporarily until you’re able to get to the dentist.
Another suggestion to try if you can’t immediately get to a dentist is to look up pain centers that manage and treat all types of chronic and severe pain. Toothache pain can also include the need for headache treatment as, depending on the severity, the pain can also travel to the head. To find one of these pain centers, do a Google search for “pain treatment centers” to locate them in a specific area. When toothache pain relief is needed immediately, every little bit helps!
A face mask has become a prominent part of our dress wear because of the arrival of the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, along with face masks comes oral hygiene problems that could be attributed to their use. But oral problems caused by face masks are preventable by keeping the following in mind.
- When wearing a mask, the tendency is to breathe through the mouth, and this will cause dry conditions in the mouth. Try to remember to breathe as often as possible through the nose.
- While wearing face masks, drinking water isn’t convenient because of having to remove the mask first. However, to limit the possibility of dry mouth, try to remember to include drinking water to remain hydrated.
- Pay extra attention to good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing often, and using a mouth rinse.
Is it Possible to Repair/Restore Tooth Enamel?
Since tooth enamel doesn’t contain living cells, once it’s damaged or gone, there’s nothing the body can do on its own to repair or restore it. However, one of the keys to the restoration of enamel before it’s totally lost is increasing the production of saliva. The following suggestions are several ways this can be accomplished.
- Consuming fiber-rich fruits and vegetables naturally keeps the mouth clean while increasing the flow of saliva. Also, calcium and phosphate are two minerals contained in dairy products that contribute to the repair of enamel affected by acid erosion.
- As already stated in this article, drinking enough water also increases saliva production while it rinses away acidity in the mouth.
- Consult with your dentist about oral products that are available that could help protect against enamel erosion.
Acquiring health insurance has always been a wise thing to do. The primary reason for having medical insurance is to have financial protection when confronted with major accidents or critical illnesses. These situations can bring sudden, unexpected costs that most people would find hard to handle.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, many people don’t learn or realize that maintaining the teeth and gums is closely associated with overall health until later in their adult years. In fact, there have been those who might’ve only thought of going to the dentist when major toothache pain or some other eruption in the mouth occurred. However, learning that gum disease can lead to high blood sugar levels, or that the same bacteria that grows in the mouth can get into the bloodstream causing cardiovascular disease, can serve as a serious wakeup call. Therefore, as soon as the connection between dental health and overall health is finally made, learn to pay attention to what must be done and begin practicing good dental hygienic techniques.