The tooth enamel is the hard, shiny and white outer layer of your teeth that covers the underlying tissues. It’s the hardest tissue in the human body and acts as a shield for the more sensitive inner tooth layer, called dentin.
The enamel is made up of approximately 95 per cent minerals, primarily calcium and phosphorus, that bond together to form hard crystallites. Approximately one per cent is made up of proteins, while water makes up the remaining four per cent. The tooth enamel doesn’t have any blood or nerve supply within it.
Why You Should Take Care Of Your Enamel
Your tooth enamel is the first line of defense against the harmful acids found in certain foods and beverages. The tooth enamel doesn’t contain any living cells, therefore is unable to regrow. When it’s damaged, it cannot regenerate, leaving the nerves and cells of your teeth exposed, which is why you need to get fillings or other restorative treatments to fix any cavities, cracks and chips.
In combination with poor oral hygiene, consuming foods or beverages high in acid can wear away your enamel, leaving behind a dull, yellow color and exposing teeth to further damage. This leads to sensitivity and tooth decay.
Typically, your saliva neutralizes acidity in your mouth and remineralizes the tooth enamel. But if your enamel loses minerals faster than it can remineralize, it will weaken and become thinner over time. When this happens, the sensitive areas of your teeth can be susceptible to decay which can only be fixed by a dental professional.
Signs Of Enamel Loss
Tooth enamel loss may not be noticeable at first glance, but some possible signs of damage include:
- Yellowing teeth. When enamel is worn, the slightly yellow dentin layer underneath is visible
- Generally worn down teeth. Erosion can wear down the edges of the teeth.
- Increased sensitivity. As the enamel wears away, the underlying dentin becomes exposed, causing tooth sensitivity.
Caring For Your Enamel
To protect your enamel, don’t consume too much of these as the enamel degrades from excess sugars and acids:
- Sticky candy and sweets
- Soda and other sugary drinks
- Foods that can easily stick between your teeth
- Alcoholic drinks
Other easy tips to protect your enamel are:
- Drinking lots of water
- Avoiding smoking and tobacco products
- Visiting your dental professional regularly for oral cleanings and checkups
- Brushing your teeth gently for two minutes twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing once daily
Healthy and bright teeth should start with strong enamel. Looking for a dentist who specializes in enamel loss and solutions? Our dental team at Kildonan Crossing Dental Centre can help. Make an appointment with us today or drop by our convenient Winnipeg location in Transcona, at the corner of Lagimodiere Boulevard and Regent Avenue.