It can be difficult to maintain healthy, sparkling teeth. Often, as we go about our days we overlook the importance of our teeth. If we’re downing cups of coffee by the liter, chomping into a greasy burger, or drinking bottles of wine at a dinner party, our teeth can feel it. Here’s an easy to follow list of tips for reducing the risk of tooth erosion, the loss of tooth structure, in order to keep your smile shining.

Drinking Less Coffee

This one might hit close to home for all the 6am warriors out there, but don’t worry, you can still enjoy your cup of joe and keep your teeth happy at the same time. Coffee is a well-known culprit for leaving our teeth stained, as well as giving us the unattractive quality of ‘coffee breath’.

It’s important to drink your caffeine in moderation, and if possible keeping consumption levels down to 2-3 cups a day. A great technique for combating stained teeth is brushing after your coffee. Ensuring you remove any coffee remnants from your teeth really goes a long way. Tea is an excellent alternative if you decide to avoid coffee, but keep in mind it can still stain teeth, so be wary just the same.

Reducing Citrus and Acid Intake

It always seems to be your favorite things that are the worst for you. While soda-pop not being good for teeth is certainly common knowledge, not everyone abides by it. This goes especially for children and teens. Mass amounts of sugar could cause decay in your teeth, which is often issued by the warning sign of bad breath. In addition, many sodas are acidic, which can cause tooth erosion.

Reducing the amount of sugary and fizzy beverages you drink helps prevent erosion from being a bigger problem than it needs to be. Drinking plenty of water, especially after drinking soda, washes and rinses away the abrasive qualities of the sugary drinks. Note that diet soda isn’t the best alternative, because it’s still fairly acidic, though this will lower the sugar exposure.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Keeping up with brushing your teeth at least twice a day is great practice for reducing erosion and cavities. Don’t be so hasty to brush immediately after eating your meal though; it’s best to wait a little bit as to not cause irritation to sensitive areas.

Get into the habit of a brushing routine every morning and night. This helps for getting both kids, teens, and adults into the cycle, ensuring a guaranteed time for brushing.

Watch the Alcohol

Like coffee and soda, alcoholic beverages can contain high levels of sugar and acidic elements. As with the previous beverages, moderation is the best way to avoid suffering tooth erosion caused by alcohol. If you do occasionally partake of this type of beverage, remember to rinse your mouth with water to rinse away the damaging elements, and brush your teeth regularly.

In addition to contributing to tooth erosion, alcohol can be very dehydrating as well, drying up the mouth and reducing the ability to produce saliva. It’s recommended that you drink water with your alcoholic beverage, to counteract the acid and sugar intake, and to stay hydrated.

Get to Know Your Dentist

Unfortunately this tip is sometimes overlooked, but visiting your dentist regularly is an important aspect of dental health. A dental professional will be able to provide accurate information about how to prevent tooth erosion and other dental ailments, and will be able to recognize and treat symptoms that may occur. A thorough cleaning from a dental professional on a regular basis is also a great way to make sure your teeth stay healthy.

Your teeth deserve the same amount of attention the rest of your body gets. From chewing your food to showing your smile, your teeth are with you for life, so remember to take good care of them. For more information about preventing dental issues such as tooth erosion, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S.

Photo credit: Rupert Taylor-Price on Visualhunt / CC BY