Tooth wear and how to prevent it



Key points about preventing tooth wear

  • Having healthy teeth can make a huge difference to your overall health, that’s why it’s so important to look after them.
  • One of the ways to do this is to avoid tooth wear.
  • If you follow our top tips on how to prevent tooth wear, your teeth will have a better chance of staying healthy and lasting a lifetime.
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The most common type of tooth wear is called dental erosion. This is caused by acid in your mouth wearing down the tooth enamel (the outer, protective tooth coating). This can increase your chance of developing decay and cavities. Your saliva neutralises acid, but if you have too much acid it can damage your enamel.

1. Brush twice a day

Gently brush your teeth twice a day using a soft or medium bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Spit don’t rinse so the fluoride stays on your teeth for longer. Wait an hour to brush your teeth after consuming anything acidic – if you do it sooner more acid damage can be done. Floss once a day.

2. Cut out acidic food and drink

Acidic food and drink eat away at your tooth enamel. It’s a slow process that you don’t usually notice until it’s too late. Acidic food such as citrus fruits and acidic drinks such as fizzy drinks, including carbonated water, sports drinks, fruit juice and wine should be consumed in moderation. Products with lots of caffeine can cause problems too. Remember, water and milk are the best drinks for you. 

3. Rinse your mouth with water

After consuming acidic food or drink, rinse your mouth straight away with water. Also, some medications are acidic, so rinse your mouth after taking medicines.   

4. Avoid snacking between meals

Snacking increases your chance of tooth decay because your mouth is acidic for a few hours after eating food high in sugar or starches.

5. Chew sugar-free gum

After a meal, chew sugar-free gum. This increases your saliva, which balances out the acid. 

6. Don’t bite hard objects or grind your teeth

Biting your nails, chewing your pen or using your teeth to open bottles can wear your teeth down. Also, grinding your teeth at night can wear them down. Talk to your dentist about ways to guard against grinding your teeth.

Another cause of tooth wear is vomiting because vomit is high in acid. Please visit your GP is you have any condition that’s causing you to vomit.

7. Finally, make sure you have regular check-ups with your dentist

Remember, dental check-ups are free for children until they turn 18 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

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Credits: Healthify Editorial Team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

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