Many people care deeply about the condition of their teeth and the look of their smile. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for dental exams and cleanings can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
But how many people are specifically concerned about the enamel on their teeth? Let’s delve into what enamel is and what you can do if you have signs of erosion.
What Is Enamel
Enamel is the thin outer layer of your tooth and the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the visible part of the tooth above the gums. It’s translucent, but the teeth appear white because of the dentin below.
It’s composed of minerals, such as calcium and phosphate. Enamel protects your teeth from acidic food and drinks, daily chewing and biting, and insulates the teeth from varying temperatures.
Despite being hard, it can still chip, crack, or erode. But unlike bone, once the enamel is damaged, the body can’t repair it because it’s not living tissue. However, there is hope for weakened enamel.
What Leads to Enamel Erosion?
Your saliva plays a significant role in keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. It neutralizes acids by diluting them and protects the enamel by coating it with minerals.
Many things cause your enamel to erode, such as certain diets, poor oral hygiene, and even some medical conditions. Here is a list:
- Fruit juices
- Soft drinks
- Acidic foods such as sour foods and candies
- Sugary foods
- Starchy foods like bread and potatoes
- Teeth grinding
- Acid reflux
- Low saliva flow or dry mouth
- Medications such as aspirin, antihistamines, and Vitamin C
- Wear and tear
- Tooth fractures
- Eating disorders such as bulimia
The signs of enamel erosion can include the following depending on the stage and severity:
- Discolouration: Since enamel is translucent when it erodes, it reveals the yellow dentin below.
- Cracks or chips: As the enamel erodes, the edges of the teeth become rough or jagged.
- Sensitivity: Teeth become more sensitive to certain temperatures (cold or hot) and foods.
- Smooth surfaces: The teeth are more smooth and shiny, a sign of mineral loss.
- Pain: As erosion and sensitivity get worse.
- Cupping: These are indentations on the surface of teeth.
Restoring Enamel Loss
Enamel damage can make your teeth more susceptible to further damage and result in tooth decay, cracks, or even loss of teeth.
Oral care is, by far, the most effective way to protect your enamel from damage and erosion.
As we age, we lose minerals leading to the demineralization of enamel. Remineralizing the teeth can strengthen and restore weakened enamel. Here are 8 ways to prevent and restore enamel loss:
- Oral hygiene: Brushing your teeth twice daily for a minimum of 2 minutes removes bacteria responsible for cavities and mineral loss in teeth.
- Fluoride: Not every toothpaste will help. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens the teeth and prevents tooth decay.
- Diet: Limit or avoid fruit juices and soda as they are highly acidic. Use a straw when drinking acidic drinks.
- Sugar-free gum: Chew sugar-free gum between and after meals to increase saliva flow. It can also promote tooth remineralization.
- Minerals: Calcium in the teeth decreases with age and from acids and bacteria. Eating foods rich in calcium can replace lost calcium.
- Address dry mouth: If you have low saliva production, speak to your dentist about ways to increase saliva in the mouth. You can drink more water or chew sugar-free gum.
- Sealants: Your dentist can add an extra layer of protection by bonding sealant to your enamel to prevent erosion.
- Rinse with water: It’s a good idea to rinse the mouth with water after consuming acidic foods or drinks to neutralize acids.
Treating Enamel Loss
How you treat enamel loss depends on the degree of damage. For cavities caused by enamel loss, treatment includes fillings. For repairing tooth enamel, your dentist can cover the tooth with a crown, veneer, or dental bonding.
Hope for Enamel
It’s not possible to replace damaged enamel. Remineralizing efforts and professional dental care can prevent any further damage to your tooth enamel in the future.
We understand that dental needs change, so if you have concerns about your enamel or oral health, contact Ti Dental to request an appointment. We can help you restore and protect your teeth for as long as possible.