What is Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is the thin, outer layer of your tooth. Its main purpose is to protect your teeth against tooth decay. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body (even stronger than bone)
Despite its strength, foods and drink as well as plaque and bacteria in your mouth can discolor, weaken and destroy tooth enamel. And once your enamel is gone, it is gone for good.
What Causes Damage to Tooth Enamel
The main causes of tooth enamel damage are acids found in the acidic foods and liquids you consume:
- Sugary and sticky foods, such as ice cream, candy, and caramel
- Highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and berries
- Juices and fruit drinks
- Starchy foods, such as white breads
Aside from acidic foods and drinks, there are also other contributing factors to tooth enamel damage:
- Teeth grinding
- Chronic acid reflux
- Regular use of certain medications, especially antihistamines and aspirin
- Eating disorders like bulimia, which disrupts the digestive system and exposes teeth to stomach acid
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Loss?
Tooth enamel damage often shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface resulting in the exposure of the dentine underneath. If your teeth start losing enamel, you might notice:
- Pain, especially when eating hot, cold, or sweet foods or drinks
- Rough or uneven edges on the teeth, making them more prone to cracking and breakage
- Yellowing of the teeth
How Can You Protect Your Tooth Enamel?
Once your tooth enamel is damaged, it can’t be replaced. Good dental care is the best way to keep your mouth healthy. Follow these steps to prevent your tooth enamel:
- Floss regularly to remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach
- Use fluoride rinse regularly
- Drink acidic beverages through a straw to help push the liquid to the back of your mouth, and away from your teeth.
- Drink water to rinse away dietary acids
- Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after acidic foods or drinks. They soften the enamel and make it more prone to damage from your toothbrush
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush to reduce enamel wear
Partner with Your Dentist to Prevent Tooth Enamel Loss
One of the best ways to ensure that you protect your teeth’s enamel is to partner with your dentist. Your dentist can detect any enamel erosion and offer advice on how to prevent it.
Additionally to using a fluoride toothpaste, your dentist may suggest you use a fluoride mouthwash.
If an affected tooth does need treatment, your dentist might suggest bonding a filling onto the tooth. In more severe cases you might need a crown.
If you haven’t seen your dentist for a while, book an appointment today.