Human teeth are designed to be tough, though a very small percentage of the population suffers from soft teeth. Whether or not you have soft teeth, there are some things you can do to improve the strength and health of their teeth.
What Causes Soft Teeth?
Having weakened enamel is commonly the problem rather than having soft teeth. Weakened enamel can be caused by regular exposure to acids and sugars. With acid reflux, acid moves up from the stomach into the esophagus and mouth. The acid causes erosion to the surface of the teeth. A high sugar diet isn’t as damaging as stomach acid but can still impact the enamel and cause decay if a person has poor dental hygiene.
Only a small number of people have soft or very weak teeth. Most tooth development finishes by the early teen years (except for wisdom teeth) so any damage to the teeth must be done prior to adolescence. Only children who are very ill, malnourished or have excessive bacteria or infections are likely to have soft teeth.
Weak teeth will have chalky spots or lines on the teeth, so it’s easy to spot if there’s a problem.
The causes of soft teeth include:
Soft Teeth With Braces
It’s normal to feel like your teeth are soft when you have braces. Your teeth haven’t softened or weakened since having your braces fitted, but rather the teeth have been slightly loosened in the gums so they can be moved into the desired position. The bone that surrounds each tooth has also weakened due to the movement. Once the teeth stop moving, the bone will harden and your teeth won’t feel loose or soft.
How to Keep Your Teeth Strong
There are some simple steps you can take to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
Limit eating sugary foods and drinks. These foods allow the bacteria in the mouth to thrive as it feeds on sugar. Foods that are high in acid should also be eaten in moderation to protect your teeth. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peaches and pineapples, cheese and some other dairy foods, fish, fresh and processed meats, nuts and seeds are all high in acid.
Always use a soft bristle brush to clean your teeth. A hard bristle can cause wear and tear on the enamel and even leave brush marks. Even with braces, there’s no need to brush your teeth using a firm hand. You need a good technique to make sure you’re effectively cleaning around the brackets rather than brushing vigorously. Brush gently and thoroughly to ensure you clean your teeth properly.
Brush your teeth after each meal to remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth. However, if you’ve eaten acidic foods, it’s best to wait 30 minutes. Foods that contain citric acid in particular soften the tooth enamel for a while and if you brush straight after, you can cause damage to the enamel. Be sure to floss your teeth twice a day to remove any bacteria and plaque between teeth and help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
While you can’t replace lost enamel, you can use a remineralising toothpaste to increase the mineral content of tooth enamel. Remineralising toothpaste helps strengthen the tooth and can repair weak spots that are sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. Remineralising toothpastes contain ingredients such as stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride and calcium phosphate.
Visit the Dentist
Make sure you see your dentist every six months for a consultation and professional clean. Your dentist will be able to identify if you have any weak spots and damage to your teeth.
If you’re waking up with sore or aching teeth, mention it to your dentist in case you’re grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can check for signs of wear and tear and may recommend you wear a guard at night to protect your teeth.
If you have heartburn or acid reflux, see your doctor or take an over the counter medication to relieve the symptoms and protect your teeth by stopping stomach acid from entering your mouth.
Women who have been through menopause are at greater risk of bone loss due to declining estrogen hormone levels. Bone loss of the jawbone places you at increased risk of tooth loss. Ask your doctor if you’re at risk of bone loss.
If you have any concerns about your teeth while you have your braces, contact your orthodontist or dentist.