Most people enjoy the benefits of having a healthy, white smile. Not only are we considered more attractive by others, but the ability to perform the simple act of eating without having to worry about tooth pain or the difficulties of dentures is invaluable. So it is truly surprising that so many of us fail to properly care for our teeth. In case you didn’t know, the foods and beverages you consume, paired with your oral health care habits (or lack thereof) can have a serious impact on the enamel that protects your teeth. And when your diet is heavy in sugar and acid, as many are, you could be contributing to erosion that leaves your teeth open to all kinds of issues such as sensitivity to cold and hot, not to mention cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. But the good news is that you have a lot of control when it comes to preserving your enamel and restoring it following erosion. Here are some tips that are sure to help you regain and maintain your oral health.

1.  See your dentist. Your number one resource for help when it comes to dealing with enamel erosion is your dentist. This professional can not only perform regular cleanings and check-ups to chart your progress, but he/she can also offer you plenty of advice pertaining to how to best restore your enamel to full strength through your diet, your daily oral care regimen, and products designed to address oral health issues. Since most people don’t know the first thing about enamel or how to sustain it, talking to a pro may be the best place to start.

2.  Beef up your hygiene. Most of us brush twice daily and call it good. But when it comes to protecting your enamel you’re going to have to be a bit more comprehensive with your defenses. Brushing is a good start, but no matter how diligent you are, you’ll never get into the nooks and crannies where food particles and bacteria can hide, eroding your enamel and leading to all kinds of issues. For this reason you really need to add flossing and rinsing to your regimen. In a perfect world you’d do this after every meal, but since you probably lead a busy life like everyone else, at least try to rinse with plenty of water during the day and chomp on some sugar-free gum after meals when you don’t have time to brush. This can help to remove stuck-on food particles and increase saliva for extra rinsing.

3.  Restrict your diet. With diets high in sugars, acids, and starches, it’s no wonder so many people have issues with tooth enamel erosion. These substances are the absolute worst offenders when it comes to oral health and you’ll want to cut back, if not cut them out entirely, when it comes to protecting the state of your teeth. Of course, this can lead to a highly restricted diet that may be beyond most people, so instead, consider cutting out sodas (and other sugary beverages), candy (and other sweets), and anything containing bleached flour.

4.  Drink your dairy. Calcium is an essential nutrient for your body, but it is especially good for your teeth. So instead of reaching for a sugary soda, have a glass of milk instead. You might also want to increase your cheese intake since this food has been found to help bring down acidity in your mouth, balancing your oral pH and minimizing erosion.

5.  Add fluoride. You may be a little wary of using fluoride since studies have shown that too much can be a bad thing. But before you discount it completely, talk to a professional at Lillian Miller Dental or your local dental provider. The benefits of adding a fluoride toothpaste can far outweigh any possible risks, especially under the supervision of your dentist. And the fact that this substance can help your teeth resist the corrosive effects of acids in the mouth is a great reason to add it to your regimen.