Enamel is the white, visible part of the tooth. It is the strongest substance in the body and it protects against tooth decay. However, despite the strength of tooth enamel, it can crack, chip, or wear away. Over 41% of children in the United States suffer from acid erosion. So, what can you do to protect your child’s teeth?
Choose drinks that are better for tooth enamel
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that soft drinks are the most frequent source of acids that damage tooth enamel. Other drinks can also damage your teeth. For instance, sports drinks and fruit juices are high in acids that lead to erosion. Water is always the best choice for teeth because it is not acidic and it improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth.
Ensure a diet with good amounts of calcium
Calcium aids in the formation of new teeth and neutralizes harmful acids that can damage tooth enamel. Make sure that calcium is present in your child’s diet every day. Dairy such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and pudding are great sources of calcium.
Avoid starchy foods
Food that is heavy in starch turns to sugar very quickly in the body. The sugar produced by starchy foods feeds bacteria that can lead to enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Choose soft bristles for your child’s toothbrush
The best toothbrush choice is one that provides gentle cleaning. Harder bristles are not better when it comes to caring for your child’s teeth and gums. Children often use more force than needed when brushing their teeth, which can hurt gum tissue and wear down the protective layer on their teeth.
Use toothpastes labelled for children
Whitening toothpastes often include abrasives, and they are not recommended for young teeth. Look for ADA-approved toothpastes, specifically indicated for use by children.
Enamel erosion can cause teeth to look yellow or have shiny spots. It may also result in sensitive teeth. Regular dental check-ups, smart food choices, and good oral hygiene can help adults and children to prevent enamel problems.