What happens if some of the hard, outer protective layer of your tooth wears away? Here, we’ll expand on what tooth enamel is, what causes it to erode, and whether you can restore it.
What is tooth enamel?
Enamel is the thin, semi-translucent layer on the surface of your teeth. It is the hardest substance in the body; its strength protects your teeth from tooth decay, cavities, and wear and tear from everyday chewing, grinding, and biting.
What causes tooth enamel to erode?
While enamel is incredibly strong, it is not impervious. There are a number of things that can erode it. For example, certain foods and beverages like tomato-based sauces, citrus, balsamic vinegar, cola, red wine, coffee, fruit juice, and tea, as well as tobacco products, can discolor and weaken your teeth. Moreover, when you consume a diet high in sugar, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth feeds on these sugars and produces enamel-dissolving acid. Other causes of erosion include aggressive brushing, a low salivary flow and dry mouth (which prohibits the remineralization process), acid reflux, certain medications, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic teeth grinding and clenching. When your enamel weakens and thins, this makes your teeth vulnerable to discoloration, decay, cavities, sensitivity, and infection.
Can you restore tooth enamel?
Though you can’t replace the outer layer of your teeth once it is gone, you can repair temporarily weakened and softened enamel through remineralization. Remineralization is a process by which you restore minerals to the teeth to fortify and strengthen them. You can do this by daily using a fluoride toothpaste and flouride mouthrinse, eating foods high in calcium and phosphorus (such as cheese, yogurt, and almonds), and increasing your salivary flow by drinking a lot of fluoridated water, chewing sugar-free gum, and practicing superb oral hygiene habits.
How can I prevent further damage?
You can also take steps to prevent further thinning of your enamel:
- If you grind your teeth at night, ask us about a custom nightguard to protect your smile.
- Gently brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time using a fluoride toothpaste. If you think you are applying too much pressure (often manifest as receding gums), consider investing in an electric toothbrush that monitors your brushing pressure.
- Floss at least once a day to remove sugary particles from between your teeth that could lead to plaque buildup and the production of damaging acids.
- Eat a healthy diet low in starchy and sugary foods, and high in fibrous fruits and vegetables and foods that contain calcium and phosphorus.
- Drink plenty of water to allow for a healthy flow of saliva.
Another important way to promote strong enamel is to come in for regular checkups and cleanings here at Bluedot Dental. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment! We look forward to helping you have a dazzling smile that is strong and healthy.