Questions to Ask Your Dentist
All the Questions You Were Afraid to Ask Your Dentist, Answered
Oral care should be supereasy, right? Brush your teeth, floss, go to the dentist twice a year — done (right?). Wrong. There are so many other elements to consider, like using a fluoride toothpaste for long-term health, being aware of the common foods and drinks contributing to the deterioration of your tooth enamel, and the right brushing techniques to help keep your smile intact for years to come.To get some definitive answers to your most burning oral health questions, we turned to Beverly Hills-based celebrity dentist and Pronamel paid spokesperson Dr. Daniel Naysan, DDS, to enlighten us on why tooth enamel matters and what we can do to protect it.
First things first: what exactly is enamel and why is it so important? Well, it's the teeth's first line of defense, i.e. the shield for dentin, which surrounds the nerves in our teeth. "Interesting fact: enamel is the hardest substance in our body," says Dr. Naysan. "It’s even two times harder than our bones. As such, enamel loss from abrasion (brushing our teeth too aggressively), erosion (from acids), attrition, and wear (a normal part of aging) can cause many adverse effects to our oral health, including tooth sensitivity and cavities." Dr. Nayasan cites the following as ways to protect tooth enamel from erosion:
- Brush gently
- Stay away from liquids and food that have a high content of phosphoric and citric acids
- Schedule routine visits to your dentist and hygienist
- Use Pronamel® Intensive Enamel Repair, which works to help repair acid-weakened enamel and protect it from future acid erosion
Unfortunately, a lot of foods we often deem as "healthy" can have a serious impact on the health of our teeth. Things like lemon or flavored water contain acidity that can attribute to negative long-term consequences for our teeth. "The main culprit in these drinks are the sugars and acidity, which can cause erosion to the enamel," says Dr. Naysan.
Dr. Naysan says some of the most common highly acidic foods that lead to tooth erosion include soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid and citric acids, fruits, and fruit juices that contain citric acids. And sorry, wine-lovers: Dr. Naysan says to be careful of grapes and wines that contain tartaric acid.
"VERY!!!" says Dr. Naysan. "Brushing for two minutes allows more time to remove plaque build-up." A review in 2012 that looked at 59 papers published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that, on average, people who brushed their teeth for one minute removed about 27 percent of plaque. However, when they upped their brushing time to two minutes, they removed around 41 percent of the plaque on their teeth. There you have it folks. Now go pick up a tube of Pronamel® Intensive Enamel Repair, replace your soda with plain water, and get to brushing!