Imagine you are the leader of an army and your assignment is to attack and overtake a castle. In planning your strategy you decide to scope out the castle at night so you can see for yourself what you are up against. From the shadows you see something that you are convinced will assure your victory. What did you see? Slivers of light peeking through cracks of the seemingly impenetrable castle walls! To you each tiny shard of light looks like a giant welcome mat for a cannonball!
So what does a medieval battle have to do with your teeth? The crack in the castle wall can be a good visual of what weakened enamel looks like to the cavity- producing enemies of teeth! Weakened or chipped enamel is just like the crack in the castle wall. It will let the bad guys in! In dentistry the bad guys are acid and bacteria that, when allowed past the compromised enamel, can cause serious tooth decay, cavities or infection. So how do you keep your defenses up and the enamel on your teeth strong and impenetrable?
Certain foods, either because of their high sugar content or their acidity, can seriously weaken or eventually break down tooth enamel. Candy is an obvious culprit. Hard candy or mints that people suck on for longer periods of time can be especially tough on enamel since the sugar stays in the mouth longer. Sugary drinks such as soda and sports drinks are another major enemy to your teeth’s enamel.
Acidic foods are also very tough on tooth enamel. Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges have a high acid content. A common southwest treat, saladitos, can be problematic in enamel health because the common method of eating saladitos is to stuff a few of them into a lemon and then suck the salted juice out. The acid in the lemon, especially when it is held in the mouth for a period of time, can be very damaging to tooth enamel.
Obviously, these foods in moderation can be ok, but be sure to brush and floss your teeth immediately after you eat them. Pro-enamel toothpastes can also provide extra protection for your teeth. However, serious dental problems can occur when folks eat or drink sugary or acidic foods on a regular basis. Frequent and/or extended contact with these enamel-destroying foods will do just that – destroy the enamel on your teeth.
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