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Easy ways to protect your enamel and still eat what you want

There are so many yummy drinks and foods out there that can damage your dental health but that are hard to give up. So we spoke to dentist Dr. Judy Sturm to find out what you can do to protect your teeth without having to sacrifice foods you enjoy.

woman drinking from straw


Use a straw

An easy way to avoid having the acid found in juices and soda pops make contact with your teeth is to sip such beverages with a straw. This will prevent the scenario of bathing your teeth in acid, explains Sturm.


Cleanse your palate

Finish your meal with a cleansing glass of water or a low-acidity treat, such as milk or cheese, as a way to neutralize acids left behind in your mouth.


Sip smartly

In addition to reducing your intake of acidic foods and drinks (such as fruit juices and pops), there are a few things you can do to decrease the damage done by your glass of Diet Coke or lemonade. Sturm recommends enjoying your drink with a meal or sipping it quickly to reduce the duration of the active attack.


Modify your beverage

Another neat trick Dr. Sturm suggests as a way to enjoy your favourite beverages without doing too much damage is to dilute them slightly with water. Though it might take a little getting used to at first, you’re likely to find you enjoy the watered-down versions just as much in the long run. Modified beverages, such as low-acid orange juice, for instance, make for suitable alternatives as well.


Rinse your mouth

To remove the acid sitting on your teeth after a particularly acidic meal or beverage, rinse your mouth with water right away. This will help ensure acid doesn’t stick around and do more damage long after you’re done with your treat.


Chew the right gum

Research suggests that chewing xylitol-added, sugar-free gum reduces the acids from foods and increases saliva flow, explains Sturm. Saliva helps prevent decay by neutralizing acids and washing away leftover food particles in your mouth. So buy a pack, and chomp away.


Wait to brush

Acid softens the enamel on your teeth, making them more vulnerable to erosion. Sturm advises waiting to brush your teeth until at least one hour after you’ve had acidic foods or beverages to ensure you don’t do any unnecessary damage.


Use the right toothpaste

Sturm recommends using fluoride rinses and toothpastes to help strengthen your teeth’s enamel and to protect them from any damage caused by your favourite acidic treats.

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Brush properly and regularly

Without a doubt, the best weapon in your arsenal against acid erosion is regular and correct brushing. Sturm recommends using a soft or electric toothbrush for best results. Also, take care to not brush too aggressively. Speak to your dentist for a step-by-step review of correct brushing and flossing techniques.


Treat stomach disorders

Unfortunately no amount of rinsing, brushing or sipping can help with such stomach disorders as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which brings acid up into your mouth. If you suffer from this condition, Sturm strongly recommends seeking appropriate treatment. Your teeth face enough challenges from the foods and drinks coming into your body, so anything you can do to ensure they aren’t being attacked from the inside as well will be helpful.

want more?

To find out more about what you can do to ensure the health of your teeth, contact Dr. Sturm at Dr. Judy Sturm & Associates.

More on dental health

Common dental issues and how to solve them
On-the-go dental hygiene: Stay fresh all day long
Mouth maintenance: What you need to know

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