Keep it Healthy
Your tooth enamel is pretty tough and it has to be. It’s under constant assault from foods and drinks, not to mention the bacteria that grows in between brushing. Plus, every time you drink a soft drink or eat something sugary, it makes your enamel weaker. And that’s a problem because your enamel defends your teeth against decay, and when it gets damaged you’ll probably end up having to make an emergency trip to an after hours dentist. If you want to avoid that, here’s what you need to know about this essential part of your teeth.
What is Enamel?
Enamel is the hard coating over the softer parts of your teeth. It’s made primarily of a mix of minerals, and is the hardest substance in the body, harder even than your bones. However, once your enamel is damaged or worn away, it doesn’t grow back. Though your dentist can repair small lesions that weaken enamel, once it’s gone you’re going to have serious problems with your teeth for the rest of your life.
There are a number of things that can damage the enamel on your teeth. The most problematic are:
Soft drinks, because the high sugar content eats away at the enamel and weakens it overall.
Sugary foods, which have the same effect as soft drinks.
Certain medications can soften the enamel.
Conditions like Bruxism or teeth grinding, because the constant motion wears the enamel away.
Diseases like Acid Reflux Disease, where stomach acids rise from the gut and can wear away the teeth.
How to Tell if Your Enamel is Worn
It’s usually pretty easy to tell if your enamel has been damaged or worn away in any areas. With the enamel gone, the soft inner surfaces of your teeth will be exposed to the open air and to any food and drink that you consume. This means that the affected teeth will become discoloured or stained more easily. Your teeth will also become more sensitive to hot and cold foods or drinks.
Enamel is very strong, which is why your teeth are fairly hard to break. But when the enamel wears away, you will also notice that your teeth chip or break more easily. This is why you need to visit your dentist if you notice any changes in your teeth. Because once your teeth start to break, fixing the problem becomes much more difficult.
Strengthening and Repairing Enamel
Once your enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced. However, if you know ahead of time that your enamel is thinning then you can take steps to try and boost its health. That’s one reason why you need to make regular trips to the dentist for check-ups, because they’ll be able to tell you if you have a problem with your enamel.
Products that contain fluoride can be very helpful in keeping your enamel strong. Fluoride acts as a barrier between food and drinks and your enamel, preventing damage or degradation. You can also find toothpastes that contain minerals that will help to strength enamel weak spots by inundating them with calcium. This will help prevent further damage to the enamel and hopefully prevent it from being completely worn away from your tooth or teeth.
How to Prevent Enamel Loss
You can’t replace enamel that’s been lost, that’s why the best strategy to preserve your oral health is to avoid things that cause damage. So if you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about a mouth guard. Try to avoid medications such as aspirin which cause enamel erosion. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. And most of all, take a proactive role in your oral health. This means informing yourself about the health of your enamel and talking to your dentist about any issues before they become serious problems.