Enamel is an incredible part of our body. In fact, tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body! How is that fun fact? Despite the powerhouse strength of this mineral, teeth are highly susceptible to damage and decay.
We all know that eating healthy is important to our bodies, but it is also vital to our teeth. These eight, innocent products are items we consume every day. Clinical studies show the damage they cause to tooth enamel over time. A little preventative knowledge and a few tips can go a long way in saving your enamel!
Here’s a list of 8 products (and habits) that can destroy your teeth:
1. Chewing Ice
Incredible, right? Something as simple as ice can cause a lot of damage. We all know someone (or we are that person) who loves to crunch on ice as if it were the world’s best snack. While it’s a nice way to help with water intake, chewing on ice is very detrimental to your teeth.
Teeth expand with hot and cold temperatures. The extra cold temperature from the ice already makes enamel more vulnerable. When paired with the force involved in breaking the ice with your teeth, you have a real recipe for all kinds of problems, including hairline fractures and more substantial fractures that can break teeth completely.
2. Lemons and Limes
Maybe chewing ice is not your thing. Maybe it’s chewing on lemons and limes or even adding them to your water! The acid from these refreshing fruit slices can do serious harm to your enamel, especially when applied directly to your teeth for a significant period of time.
Enamel’s kryptonite is acidity. Avoid chewing on these as much as possible; your teeth will thank you. If you want to add them to your water, be sure to drink with a straw.
3. Carbonated Beverages
We have all heard this advice since Sunday school age and yet most of us won’t give up our sodas for anything. When it comes to carbonated beverages, the combination of acidic components and sugar is a deadly force.
Even sugar-free sodas have ingredients that are very harmful to enamel. If you can’t give up your soda, try a natural alternative or a sugar-free version instead. At the very least, rinse with water after finishing your can of soda pop, and always try to drink it with a straw.
The big thing with any alcoholic beverage such as whiskey, beer, or wine is their tendency to dry out your mouth. Saliva is super important to the health of your teeth, as strange as that may seem.
Anything with a high alcohol content will dry out the saliva glands in your mouth. Long term, this will cause havoc on the healthy bacteria inside your mouth. Healthy bacteria help to protect tooth enamel. When this is not present or is threatened, the result is often dental decay and gum disease.
5. Starchy Carbohydrates
Crackers, potato chips, and even bread all seem innocent enough. However, these starchy carbohydrates love to stick to your enamel. Much like the components of sugar and acid, starchy foods can also weaken enamel and create the optimal condition for decay. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating carbohydrates can help combat these effects.
Is there anyone who does not have or has not heard a popcorn dental story? Popcorn falls under the same classification as starchy carbs, but because it so often causes dental issues, it deserves its own category!
Unpopped kernels can get stuck between teeth, under dental prostheses, and have also been known to cause fractures and breakage. As tempting as it may be to chew on some popcorn kernels, don’t do it!
7. Caffeinated Beverages
While the biggest complaint with coffee and teas can be the dark staining, these products also contain acidic compounds and natural compounds known to dry the mouth out.
While these beverages may be low on the list of dangerous beverages, it’s still important to be mindful of their effects. Rinse with water after drinking your cup of joe or consider using a straw.
8. Homemade Teeth Whiteners
Admittedly, some of these formulas may seem like a nice mix of natural products with convincing propositions. However, highly acidic or phosphorous products (looking at you, vinegar, and baking soda!) are very dangerous to tooth enamel. While they may get off some surface stains, they can do a lot of irreversible damage to the enamel.
Schedule Your Dental Cleaning and Exam
As amazing as enamel is, too much erosion will not be fixed with time and will require dental treatment. Preventative care at home and in the dental office is your enamel’s best defense. Call our office to schedule an exam and cleaning and keep your teeth healthy!