Tooth enamel is the outer covering of your tooth and is the hardest tissue in your body.
Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that is visible outside the gums.
As it is translucent, you can see light passing through it. However, the main part of the tooth or dentin is responsible for the color of your tooth, whether white, off-white, grey, or yellow.
Tooth enamel is your first defense against many different chemicals that you are exposed to from food and fluids.
As a result, it can wear and tear and is referred to as enamel erosion.
Most often, tea, cola, fruit juices, and cigarettes can cause staining on the enamel of your teeth.
However, regular visits to your dentist for cleaning and polishing can help remove most stains and make sure your teeth stay healthy.
Let us learn more about tooth enamel, causes of tooth enamel erosion, symptoms can how to treat it.
The function of Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel helps to protect your teeth from daily use like chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding.
Although it is the hardest tissue in your body, however, it can chip and crack.
Moreover, it insulates your teeth from painful temperatures and other chemicals.
This includes drinking or eating hot or cold food items, carbonated drinks, soda, etc.
However, when it erodes, you may notice that you react to hot or cold food items, sweets because they can get through the holes in your enamel to the nerves inside.
This is called Tooth Sensitivity.
Causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion
Acids found in the foods and liquids you consume are one of the main causes of enamel erosion.
Saliva is responsible for neutralizing the acids in your mouth to protect your teeth.
However, when you consume too many acidic foods and drinks and do not take care of your oral and dental health, the outer layer of enamel will degrade over time.
Certain food items can cause tooth enamel erosion. These are:
Sugary foods, like ice creams, caramel, starchy food like wheat bread, acidic foods like apple, citrus fruits.
Moreover, fruit drinks and juices, sodas that contain damaging citric acid and phosphoric acid, and excess vitamin C can cause tooth enamel erosion.
Other causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion are:
- Teeth Grinding
- Chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux diseases, GERD
- low salivary flow or xerostomia which is a symptom of diabetes
- regular use of medications like antihistamines and aspirin
- eating disorders like bulimia which causes damage to the digestive system and exposes your teeth to stomach acid
Enamel Erosion Symptoms
Symptoms of tooth enamel erosion can vary from one person to another, however, the common symptoms are:
Increased insensitivity to taste, textures and temperature, cracks and chips, discolorations and indentations or cups on the surface of your teeth.
If you experience pain, and high sensitivity when you eat or drink something hot, cold, acidic, or spicy foods, you may have significant enamel erosion.
Moreover, discoloration of your teeth also happens when you have severe tooth enamel erosion.
Moreover, you might also observe shiny spots on your teeth, the gradual wearing of enamel leading to clear or slightly translucent teeth.
Growing Back Tooth Enamel
Enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, however, it does not have any living cells and is unable to repair itself if it faces any physical or chemical change.
This means, that it is not possible to repair the damage caused by erosion and it will not grow back.
However, erosion takes a long time to cause any significant damage, so if you ready have some damage, you can prevent it from taking certain preventive measures or treatment.
These can help prevent severe damage to your teeth.
Treating Enamel Erosion
A dentist can help you if you have severe enamel erosion. The first technique is tooth bonding and in this procedure, your dentist will place a tooth-colored material or resin on the damaged teeth.
The resin can help cover the discolorations and protect your teeth. You may want to consider tooth bonding if it causes discolorations on your front teeth.
The best way to treat enamel erosion is to prevent it in the first place. You can prevent it from worsening by looking after your teeth with the help of good oral hygiene.
Remineralizing your Tooth
Certain minerals like calcium and phosphate make tooth enamel as well as bone and dentin. They also help to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
As you age, the mineral on your teeth decreases and is also due to sugary and acidic foods.
If this happens, then bacteria in your mouth can cause damage to the tooth enamel.
However, you can take certain measures with changing lifestyles and home remedies to help replenish these minerals.
This process is demineralization. You can talk to your dentist about treatments to help remineralize your teeth.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Brushing your Teeth
To remove bacteria in your mouth, brushing them twice a day or after meals are important.
One of the main causes of accumulation of bacteria leading to cavities is Streptococcus mutans bacteria in your mouth.
According to a study, these bacteria accumulate in your mouth via food and drinks. Brushing your teeth for at least 2 minutes can help remove bacteria that can lead to mineral loss and cavities.
Thus, making them less suspectable to mineral loss.
Cut out Sugar
Many dentists advise you to refrain from using too much sugar, as sugar is highly acidic and interacts with bacteria in your mouth thus breaking down the tooth enamel.
According to a study, high frequency in sugar consumption can lead to demineralization more than the amount of sugar consumed.
In simple words, eating sugar on regular basis can do more harm than eating it occasionally.
Many dentists often debate about the uses of chewing gums, however, sugarless versions may promote tooth remineralization.
Moreover, according to a study, sugar-free gum can help remove sugar, plaque, and carbs from your teeth, while encouraging your salivary glands to produce more saliva.
Get more Calcium and Vitamins
Naturally, your teeth have the ability to produce calcium, this mineral is stripped by acids and bacteria over time.
You can eat calcium-rich foods to replace calcium.
A study suggests that eating these foods counteract the effects of eating sugar.
Thus, if your diet is deficient in calcium, you should talk to your doctor about using supplements.
Moreover, according to a study, taking vitamin D supplements can help protect your teeth against cavities.
However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any supplements and make sure that you are getting the right vitamins.
Preserving Tooth Enamel
Your tooth enamel can degrade from plaque bacteria, excess sugar, and acids, which can turn into a cavity.
Decay can also occur when your enamel is worn down by acidic substances like drinks and foods.
Moreover, plaque can increase cavities by converting sugar into acid.
Saliva is critical in your mouth and it protects against acids and enzymes and helps to restore trace minerals.
Anything that allows you to produce more saliva will help your teeth, and anything that slows down its productions will hurt it.
Food and drinks that help to fight against decay are fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. sugar-free chewing gums that help to promote the production of saliva, and black or green tea that fights against plaque bacteria
Also, dairy products help produce salvia and tend to be high in calcium, and foods or drinks with fluoride help strengthen your teeth.
To protect your enamel, do not consume too much of the following food items:
- sticky candy and sweets
- soda and sugary drinks
- foods that can easily stick between your teeth and gums
- alcoholic drinks can cause dry mouth and are often high in sugar.
More easy tips to care for your enamel are as follows:
drink lots of water, avoid smoking and tobacco products, avoid chewing ice or other hard substances, visit your dentist twice a year and brush your teeth gently for 2 minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once a day.
Tooth Enamel is a unique part of your body and is the hardest tissue. It is crucial for the health and appearance of your teeth.
Although, caring for your teeth can sometimes seem complicated, however, simple routines and habits can go a long way and make sure that your enamel stays strong.
It does not have the ability to regrow itself, thus to avoid tooth erosion, you should follow oral and dental hygiene tips to prevent severe damage.