10 Ways to Help Protect Your Tooth Enamel & Prevent Abrasion
Tooth enamel doesn’t regenerate. Once it erodes, it’s gone. But you can help protect your tooth enamel by monitoring what you eat, how you brush, and the RDA level of your toothpaste. Here are 10 ways to help lower abrasion and prevent enamel loss for a whiter, brighter, and healthier smile.
1. Choose a Less Abrasive Toothpaste
The toothpaste you choose plays a huge role in protecting your teeth from decay and enamel damage. Toothpastes use added abrasives such as silica, chalk, and other minerals to remove stains and plaque on your teeth. Strongly abrasive toothpastes and other factors, such as genetics and how you brush, can hasten enamel erosion, causing your teeth to appear yellow and stained as the tooth dentin color shows through.
Even though your tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in your body, harsh abrasives and acids can lead to wear and tear of your enamel. To help protect your enamel long-term, try a toothpaste that contains less abrasive ingredients, such as baking soda, to remove plaque and surface stains on your teeth and help minimize enamel loss.
2. Look Up Your Toothpaste’s RDA Value
You can find the RDA value of many toothpastes, a scientific measure of its abrasiveness. Brushing your teeth with just water is an RDA level of 4, while plain baking soda has an RDA of 7. Adult toothpastes range in RDA value from 35 to 250. The higher the RDA value, the more abrasive a toothpaste is.
What is RDA Value in Toothpaste
Every toothpaste has an RDA value, which stands for Relative Dentin Abrasivity. RDA is a standardized scale to quantify and compare toothpaste abrasiveness. The lower a toothpaste’s RDA, the less abrasive it is. The American Dental Association recommends toothpastes with an RDA at or below 250.
If you have sensitive teeth or are dealing with enamel loss, consider a low RDA toothpaste to help prevent further enamel erosion and sensitivity.
3. Brush Lightly with Softer Bristles
The mechanical action of toothbrushing plays a role in eroding and abrading your tooth enamel. There is such a thing as over-brushing: brushing your teeth too often or too vigorously. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice per day, applying light pressure with a softer-bristled toothbrush held at a 45-degree angle to the teeth.
Get more tips for proper toothbrushing and learn whether an electric vs. a manual toothbrush is better for you.
4. Use Fluoride Toothpastes & Oral Rinses
Fluoride helps protect your teeth against acids in your mouth from foods and juices, which lead to decay and enamel erosion. Fluoride helps remineralize enamel weak spots that have lost calcium and phosphate ions from eating acidic foods or carbohydrate-rich diets. These minerals are important to maintaining strong tooth enamel and help provide an effective barrier against acids.
Give your body fluoride by drinking fluorinated water. You can also get added fluoride by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride mouthwash, and getting fluoride treatments at your regular dental check-ups.
5. Limit Acidic Foods & Rinse After Eating
Sugary, acidic foods such as soda, sour candy, and many fruit juices can be highly acidic. Acid in your mouth can weaken and soften tooth enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay and prone to sensitivity.
Limit how much soda, citrus juice, sports drinks, coffee, alcohol, tomatoes, processed food and other acidic foods you eat and be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after eating or drinking. Adjust the pH of your mouth to be more alkaline and less acidic by adding baking soda to your water rinse and using your favorite ARM & HAMMER™ toothpaste. All of them have an alkaline pH that helps neutralize the acids in your mouth to prevent damage to your teeth.
6. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing gum after you eat helps your mouth produce more saliva, which is your body’s natural defense against acids that can harm your tooth enamel. Rather than brushing after every meal, limit toothbrushing to twice per day and rinse your mouth and/or chew sugar-free gum after a meal or snack to help protect your tooth enamel.
7. Don’t Bite Your Nails or Chew Pens
Teeth grinding and chewing wear down tooth enamel – especially chewing on hard things like pens, pencils, bottle caps, or even biting your nails. To help prevent tooth enamel loss, don’t chew anything other than food. That includes straws, pieces of hay, and chewing tobacco.
8. Drink More Water
It’s no secret that hydration is healthy, but did you know that drinking more water is also helpful for your teeth? Well-hydrated bodies produce more saliva, which is your natural defense against acids that can harm your tooth enamel. Plus the act of drinking water helps flush away food debris and bacteria for a win-win.
9. Eat Foods Containing Calcium, Phosphorus & Fluoride
While you can’t rebuild your tooth’s enamel, you can help strengthen it and prevent additional thinning and loss. One of the best ways to remineralize your teeth and strengthen from within is by eating foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride, such as dairy, green leafy vegetables, almonds, and seafood. Supplements and oral care products high in calcium help, too.
10. Get Regular Dental Care
Of course, one of the most important things you can do to help protect and maintain your tooth enamel is to get regular dental care. Your dentist, hygienist, and periodontist work together to clean your teeth properly, strengthen them with fluoride, and monitor your teeth and gums for signs of loss. Visit your dentist at least twice each year for teeth cleaning and check-ups.
What Toothpastes are Low Abrasion & Protect Enamel?
Baking soda is one of the least abrasive materials you can use to clean your teeth. Plus, baking soda helps neutralize acids and lower the pH of your mouth, making it more friendly to your tooth enamel.
ARM & HAMMER™ Toothpastes are naturally powered by baking soda, going beyond cleaning to give you stronger, healthier teeth and gums. Unlike regular toothpaste, our pure baking soda formulas penetrate deeper throughout your mouth to remove plaque in hard-to-reach areas. Best of all, ARM & HAMMER™ toothpaste is less abrasive than other toothpastes*!
Try one of these ARM & HAMMER™ toothpastes to help protect your enamel and prevent tooth decay:
- ARM & HAMMER ™ Complete Care™ Whole Mouth Protection Toothpaste has an ultra smooth formula and a great fresh mint taste to gently whiten teeth while strengthening enamel. RDA value: 112.
- ARM & HAMMER™ Advance White Toothpaste has a low abrasion formula that won’t damage enamel plus fluoride for cavity protection and enamel strengthening – all with a great tasting clean mint flavor. RDA value: 47.
- ARM & HAMMER™ Peroxicare Deep Clean Toothpaste safely whitens with the gentle power of baking soda while also neutralizing enamel-eroding acids, controlling tartar and helping strengthen enamel with fluoride. RDA value: 45.