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Keeping your dental enamel strong and healthy will help your smile resist infection down the road. Our O’Fallon dentists are here to do everything possible to help you achieve and maintain a strong smile! One thing that you really want to avoid is premature enamel thinning. Thin enamel is not as useful as thick dental enamel; if your enamel is thin it is more prone to sensitivity and developing cavities.

Here are some of the things that can cause your dental enamel to become thinner:

Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition that is characterized by chronic dental grinding and clenching. You might find that you’re grinding or clenching your teeth during the day, especially during times of stress. You may also be grinding your teeth at night—if you’re waking up with headaches or jaw pain, this may be due to bruxism.

As your teeth grind back and forth, your dental enamel is put under and immense amount of pressure. Over time, this condition can lead to your enamel becoming thin and weaker; you may also develop small cracks and chips in your teeth due to bruxism. The good news is that there are treatments available to lessen bruxism and protect your enamel!

Acidic Substances

Many foods and drinks are quite acidic, and thus they make dental enamel softer and weaker. One key to avoiding acid-related damage is to refrain from brushing your teeth for at least twenty to thirty minutes after you consume something acidic—your enamel is softer than usual during this period of time, and you don’t want to risk eroding it by brushing.

Here are some of the commonly consumed foods and drinks that are considered acidic:

· Citrus fruits

· Coffee

· Red wine

· Soft drinks

· Fruit juices

As always, you can reach out to our O’Fallon dentists to learn more about how to protect your enamel, and to schedule a consultation with our dental team. We look forward to speaking with you!

If you’re the type to make resolutions for the new year, take this opportunity to pledge to care for your smile in 2017! This is a great time for you to recommit to your dentist-recommended oral hygiene routine. Our O’Fallon dentists are here with some suggestions on how to maintain your teeth and gums this year.

Brushing your teeth helps to keep your smile looking clean and bright, and helps to prevent cavities and gum disease.

· Make sure that you’re brushing morning and night

· Use a toothbrush that is appropriate for you—most people should be using soft bristled toothbrushes—talk to your dentist if you are unsure

· Brush your smile for at least two minutes every time that you brush

· Use gentle circular motions to buff away plaque—too much pressure can actually cause enamel or gum tissue damage

Many people don’t take the time to floss as recommended, but this is a mistake!

· The American Dental Association recommends that patients floss once a day

· The best time to floss your smile is right before you brush your teeth at night

· Make sure that you are flossing between all of your teeth, and that you’re moving your piece of floss all the way down into your gum tissue

There are also some simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine in order to refresh your smile:

· Rinse your mouth with water after meals

· Make sure that you are drinking enough water every day, as this enables your body to produce oral-health-boosting saliva

· Don’t use abrasive toothpicks to clean between your teeth—if you need to dislodge a piece of food, do so using gentle floss

Our O’Fallon dentists can give you more information about caring for your smile at home. Please feel free to call our office to speak to a member of our team and schedule your consultation!

Protecting your smile over the long-term means being thoughtful about the types of substances you allow to sit on your teeth. Different types of foods and drinks can lead to damage and discoloration over time. In this short article, our O’Fallon dentists are giving you some more information about how various substances may affect your smile.

Tobacco Products

Let’s get this out of the way first—all tobacco products are bad for your smile, and will negatively affect your teeth over time. When you use tobacco products, you are an increased risk of suffering from gum disease, tooth loss, and jawbone tissue deterioration. Tobacco decreases the blood flow to your oral tissues, and make it difficult for your mouth to fight infections and heal. Plus, tobacco products cause dental enamel staining—so your smile will start to look yellow and dark over time.

Acidic Substances

There are a number of very popular foods and drinks that are quite acidic: soft drinks, coffee, wine, fruit juices, citrus fruits, and more. When your dental enamel is exposed to these acidic things, it softens and becomes more prone to erosion. So, make sure that you do not brush your teeth for at least twenty to thirty minutes after consuming something acidic. You can also rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking to help neutralize acid.

Hard Foods

Many people make the mistake of chomping on hard candies, mints, and ice. These substances are too hard for your dental enamel to handle, and chewing on these things regularly can cause small cracks and chip in the dental enamel. Often, these cracks are so small that they are not visible to the naked eye, but these weak spots become prime spots for bacteria to accumulate.

If you have questions about how to protect your smile day to day, please feel free to contact our O’Fallon dentists for more information!

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