Teeth are made up of enamel, dentine, cementum and pulp. They help you break down food so it's easier to swallow and digest. Their frequent use and exposure to food, drink, air and bacteria causes teeth, particularly the enamel, to wear down. Worn teeth can be sensitive, painful and are more prone to disease and decay. If you take steps to strengthen your teeth, they'll stay healthier and last a lot longer. This is particularly important for adult teeth, as they are the permanent set.
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Things you need
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Sugarless gum
Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush, either manual or electric, two times a day. Brush in a circular motion for at least two minutes, going over each individual tooth. Brush the tongue and cheeks to combat bacteria. The fluoride in the toothpaste strengthens the enamel. Too much fluoride can cause splotches on the teeth in children so they should use only pea-sized amounts of toothpaste when brushing and avoid mouth rinses containing fluoride.
Get 1200 mg of calcium daily. The calcium strengthens the inside of the tooth. Eat calcium rich foods, including dairy like cheese and milk, fruits and .vegetables like figs and kale, and nuts like almonds and sesame seeds. Take nutritional supplements, such as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate, if you can not get enough calcium from foods. Calcium carbonate has double the percentage of elemental calcium, the kind of calcium your body uses, calcium citrate has, but calcium citrate is more easily absorbed and causes fewer side effects.
Chew sugarless gum after meals. Chewing gum increases the production of saliva. The extra saliva neutralises high levels of acidity in the mouth, preventing decay. Extra saliva also allows more minerals, like calcium, phosphate and fluoride, to reach your teeth. These minerals strengthen the enamel.
See your dentist regularly. He can take X-rays and identify weak areas in your teeth. He can then apply a sealant to help strengthen the weak teeth.The dentist applies a plastic liquid sealant to the teeth and uses light to harden it. The sealant acts as a barrier to protect the teeth from bacteria, reducing your risk of developing tooth decay and cavities. Some sealants release fluoride.
Tips and warnings
- Replace your toothbrush every three months.
- Do not chew gum with sugar in it. Sugary gum can contribute to tooth decay.
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- Salisbury University; Chew on This; 2008
- Tufts University; How Does Fluoride Strengthen Teeth and Why Add it to the Public Water Supply?; Paul J. Vankevich, D81; 2011
- Penn State University: Tasty Treats for Healthy Teeth
- Informedhealthonline.org: Tooth Sealants
- Kids Health: Overexposure to Fluoride
- Walgreens: Pharmacist FAQ: Calcium Citrate