Simple ways to help protect your child’s enamel

Posted on January 21, 2022 | Hot Topics

Simple ways to help protect your child’s enamel

Did you know that the hardest part of the human body is tooth enamel? Even though enamel has a pretty tough reputation, it still can become eroded. Once tooth enamel begins to weaken and erode, the teeth are susceptible to decay and disease. 

Here’s the good news: you can protect your child’s enamel with some fairly simple preventative action.

What is tooth enamel?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense your teeth have against plaque and cavities. It is the white, visible part of the tooth and it is also the hardest part of the human body. When enamel is damaged, it can appear discolored and leave the affected teeth very sensitive.

What damages tooth enamel?

Unfortunately, tooth enamel takes a lot of abuse to keep teeth healthy. There are many factors that cause enamel erosion, but most of the damage is done by the food and drinks that we all consume. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), pop (soft drinks) are the most frequent source of erosive acids, due to their high acidity and frequency of consumption. Other drinks like fruit juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks can also damage your teeth through acidic erosion.

Five ways to protect your child’s enamel: 

1. Brush and floss regularly

Food debris left on your child’s teeth encourages bacteria to grow, and that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it’s important to brush twice a day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of their teeth.

2. Drink more water

You’ve heard us say this before, but we’re saying it again! Water is a fantastic tool in the fight against acid erosion. Water is not acidic, and does not harm tooth enamel. It also improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth of debris and restores the mouth back to a healthy ph balance. Swap those sugary drinks with a cup of water to help keep their enamel strong and healthy.

3. Rinse after eating meals

A great way to remove food debris from teeth is by rinsing immediately after meals. Have your child swish clean water in their mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out. This will help prevent acid attacks and enamel erosion.

4. Avoid sugary foods and drinks

Sugar feeds the bacteria on your teeth, causing plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks that you consume. You can read more about childhood cavities here. Before buying snacks, check the back of the package for the amount of sugar it contains. Also try to avoid giving your little one sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks, all of which are notoriously high in sugar.

5. Limit citrus

Food and drinks high in citric acid erode tooth enamel in a process called demineralization. In bad cases of demineralization, acid will work its way to the soft layer beneath the enamel called the dentin. These advanced cases lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. If you consume anything with high citric acid, rinse with water for 30 seconds afterwards to clean away some of the lingering acid.

How do you know if your child’s enamel is healthy?

By visiting our office, we can easily evaluate the health of your child’s enamel and their overall oral health. Call or message us today to schedule your child’s appointment!

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