The enamel is the outermost layer of your tooth. It is one of the four main tissues that make up your teeth. Enamel is the only visible layer, and it is considered the strongest substance in the human body. However, enamel is highly vulnerable to erosion and decay despite its strength and the important role of protection it plays for your smile. Understanding more about your tooth enamel can help you take care of it better, which means a healthier smile in return.
What does tooth enamel do?
While it is important to keep your enamel in good condition if you want to maintain an attractive smile, this tooth layer isn’t just for show. Its primary role is to protect your teeth from everyday wear, including chewing, biting and any grinding habits you may have. Enamel’s secondary role is to insulate your tooth from extreme temperatures and harmful chemicals.
What causes tooth enamel to erode?
When acids and plaque are allowed to accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth, the enamel will begin to deteriorate or erode. This can occur from a sugary diet and poor brushing/flossing as well as eating disorders, acid reflux and other medical conditions that foster an acidic environment in your mouth.
How do I know if I have enamel erosion?
There are several warning signs of erosion, ranging from sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet substances to discoloration, chips or indentions in your teeth. When the enamel wears thin, the yellow dentin layer is more visible, which gives your teeth a dingy or darker shade. The tooth nerves are also more exposed when enamel erosion is present, leaving your teeth more sensitive to external factors like extreme temperatures.
How can I prevent damage to tooth enamel?
Maintaining diligent oral hygiene habits at home and visiting your dentist every six months is undoubtedly the best way to avoid enamel erosion. If caught early, damage to tooth enamel (whether it is a slight crack or beginning cavity) can be easily and affordably repaired. You’ll also want to be sure your saliva production is adequate, as this will ensure the acids stay neutralized in your mouth and food debris is more easily rinsed away between meals. Chewing sugar-free gum is an excellent remedy for occasional dry mouth.
At Smiles by Seese, you can trust that we understand every structure and tissue of your tooth, especially the outer enamel. Our experts can instruct you on how to protect your smile, and they are highly equipped to restore your teeth if enamel erosion has already occurred. If you have sensitive teeth or teeth that look more yellow than white, schedule an appointment and let us evaluate your smile today.