Your teeth have natural super powers—they just need a little regular care
By Samantha Gluck
It’s true that a genuine smile has an almost mystical power to transform the hearts and minds of people in a room—and healthy teeth are a big part of that beautiful smile. Teeth also allow us to eat and speak properly, so it’s important to care for them.
Do teeth have ways to protect themselves?
You bet they do! Enamel covers the outside of your teeth and it’s second only to diamond in strength. Despite this incredible strength, neglect of the enamel is the fastest way to diminish its powerful protection of the tooth’s interior structure, called dentin.
Failing to care for the super strong enamel covering your teeth is like giving kryptonite to Superman. It becomes weak and vulnerable to the opportunistic bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) that constantly attempts to breach this resilient barrier. When bacteria penetrate your tooth enamel, a cavity begins to form, which permanently damages it and may lead to infection.
Most people wouldn’t ever guess the other way teeth protect themselves. It’s with saliva. A study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that saliva plays an active role in protecting teeth from cavity causing bacteria. Rather than kill the bacteria, your saliva keeps it suspended in its gel-like form, greatly reducing its ability to attack the teeth.
6 Ways to Give Your Teeth Some Support
Although your teeth seem to have some pretty impressive self-protective abilities, they still need your help. Harness your inner superpowers to care for your beautiful, natural teeth:
- Push away sugary and acidic foods. Sugary foods promote tooth decay and too much acidic food results in damage to tooth enamel.
- Resist very chewy or hard foods. Chewy foods tire out your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). And watch out for very hard foods, which can actually alter your bite structure over time.
- Lift that drinking water. Carry a water bottle with you and stay hydrated all day. Water dislodges food from your teeth and rinses away substances that may stain your smile.
- Brush and floss twice a day. Brushing and flossing are simple tasks yet powerful tools for protecting the health of your natural teeth. Remember, twice a day, every day.
- Protect teeth from injury. Shield your teeth from injury by always wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
- See your mouth’s best friend, your dentist, twice a year. Visit your dentist twice annually for a checkup and professional cleaning.
Be a superhero by helping your natural teeth stay healthy. And don’t forget to smile.