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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
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Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

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Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


Enamel and Your Teeth, Part 2

In Dr. Egger’s first February blog we addressed some issues with tooth enamel. Despite being the hardest tissue in the human body (yes, it’s harder than bone), tooth enamel can still be broken down. That’s what the acids secreted by bacteria in plaque do, they begin to demineralize the enamel. That means the acids are pulling calcium and various phosphates out of the tooth enamel, which weakens it in that spot. Now the acids can penetrate the enamel; this is tooth decay, and you have a cavity.

So, the goal is to protect your tooth enamel, so that it can keep on protecting your teeth. That’s what good home hygiene does by brushing and flossing away plaque that builds up on your teeth during the day. The bacteria in plaque eat the bits and pieces of food that remain in your mouth and they then excrete acids. Brushing and flossing removes this, but if you don’t brush or don’t do a good job, the plaque remains along with its accompanying acids and potential to begin the process of tooth decay.

Fluoride is the best way to protect your enamel and keep it strong. Fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, and where it occurs naturally in foods and water help to push calcium and phosphates back into the enamel, known as remineralization, and this keeps the enamel in tip-top fighting shape, ready to take on all bacteria on the teeth.

In February’s first blog we also talked about toothpastes and mouthwashes that claim they can rebuild lost enamel. That’s a bunch of hooey. Enamel isn’t living tissue, so it can’t regrow. Once enamel is lost, it is lost for good. We all lose enamel over our lifetimes of chewing and biting. It just naturally thins. But there are a couple things you can do with the foods you eat and drink to minimize this thinning.

You are what you eat and drink

You want to preserve your enamel, and you can help on this front with what you eat and drink. There are various foods and drinks to watch out for. Carbonated sodas have lots of acid in them. Sweets don’t have acid, but they are loved by bacteria that love the sugars.

Fruit juices, especially lemon juice, can be extremely acidic. Drinking too much juice can break down your enamel in two ways. First, the acid breaks down the enamel. Second, once you drink the juice, it softens your enamel just a bit, and then when you brush your teeth that adds extra abrasion, which also degrades your enamel.

One way you can lessen this is by drinking acidic beverages with a straw. This pushes the fluids to the back of the mouth and away from your teeth. Plus, after that glass of orange juice, rinse with some water and this will neutralize the acid.

Another helpful hint is to chew sugar-free gum. This boosts the production of saliva, which washes the teeth and contains minerals to strengthen the enamel. Plus, some brands contain xylitol, which counteracts the acid in foods and beverages.

Now you know — it’s better to take care of your enamel than to wait for some false promise from a toothpaste to rebuild it. That can’t happen. Plus, keeping your twice-yearly appointments with Dr. Egger and our team is equally important to keeping your enamel and teeth healthy and strong. Is it time for your next appointment? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.