When it comes to protecting your teeth, your first line of defense against tooth decay and cavities is tooth enamel, as it is the outermost covering that protects the more vulnerable dentin and tooth pulp below. Your enamel comes equipped for the job as the hardest substance in your body. However, because it doesn’t have living cells it can’t grow back once it is lost. The number one enemy of tooth enamel is acid. It eats away at the enamel leaving it vulnerable to decay as it weakens. Because tooth enamel protects the lower layers from acids and plaque, protecting it is vital to your oral health. Be sure to limit these harmful items as much as possible, and be sure to clean your teeth at least twice a day. Here are some items to avoid: – Soda – Fruit juice – Flavored water (has citric acid and other additives) – Sugary snacks like cakes, cookies and candies – Starchy snacks like chips, crackers, pretzels and bread – Citrus fruit Of course, it’s not just about what you leave out of your diet that protects tooth enamel. There are foods that can help strengthen tooth enamel, so let’s take a look at them. – Probably the number one food choice for healthy teeth is rich in calcium which helps form strong teeth and bones. Cheese, which is high in calcium, also helps balance your oral pH which lowers the acids that attack the enamel. Besides cheese and other low-fat dairy items like yogurt, you can find calcium in fortified rice and soy milk, sardines and salmon in the can, almonds, and dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach. – Foods rich in vitamin D help your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is abundant in milk, salmon, margarine, as well as soy and rice beverages which are fortified. – Your teeth also need phosphorus which you can find in eggs, meat and fish. – Vitamin A, found in sweet potatoes, red peppers, mangoes and kale. – Beta-carotene in fruits and vegetables which are orange. – Magnesium rich foods like bananas, whole grains, and spinach. For healthy tooth enamel, you also want to make sure are hydrated throughout the day. Water helps support saliva flow and keeps your mouth debris-free while helping all the bodily tissues. Healthy eating habits, combined with daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth and gums stay strong for a lifetime of healthy smiles. If you would like to have our team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call and schedule an appointment today. We look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.