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April 9th, 2019

The Secret to Strong Tooth Enamel

Category: cincinnati dentist

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Your tooth enamel: it’s the outer surface layer of your teeth that protects your teeth against decay. It’s known as the strongest mineral substance in our body, which shows you just how strong it really is!

Since it is the outermost layer of our teeth, it’s also what comes into contact with everything you eat and drink. That’s why, despite how strong it can be, it can become weakened over time. Let’s take a closer look at how tooth enamel damage can happen, and how you can prevent it.

How Enamel Damage Happens

In our quest to keep our enamel strong, it’s good to know about two types of damage that can affect the enamel.

First, there is abrasion. As you may have guessed, abrasion is when there is something that rubs against the teeth. An examples of this: it is possible to do damage with a hard-bristled toothbrush over time. Also, something like scraping your teeth with utensils can be a form of abrasion on the teeth.

The second form of damage is due to erosion. Erosion is because of overexposure, and usually happens over time. If you over-expose the enamel to acids, this can weaken the enamel. Certain dietary acids in the stomach can even end up regurgitated, or toxins can be released and these are also damaging to your teeth (1, 2).

What Does it Look Like if My Enamel is Eroding?

If you think you might have enamel loss, ask us so we can have a conversation about it! The signs are not always as obvious as you may think, or at least the early signs aren’t…

You may see that the shape or the color of your teeth appears to be slowly changing. Or maybe one day you just notice the changes that have been slowly happening, and now you just finally see it!

Your teeth may also look more yellow, without reason, or they could appear very shiny.

Do you notice that the edges of your teeth look different than they used to? If the edges seem a bit more “rough,” that might be a sign of tooth enamel loss. You might also see “marks” or what appears to be indents on your teeth that you haven’t noticed before.

Third, if you have extreme sensitivity to hot, cold, or even sweet foods, it could be another sign that you have enamel damage (among other potential issues). Sometimes people even get so used to tooth sensitivity they don’t even realize it’s become a problem! (1, 2)

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Top Ways to Protect Your Enamel

Most people want to keep their enamel strong and healthy for a lifetime. After all, that’s what helps you fight off tooth decay and it keeps your smile looking as vibrant and healthy as possible.

It’s true that tooth erosion will happen with age, but make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, the proper way, to help protect your enamel.

You also want to floss every to fight off the plaque build-up and to prevent further decay between all your teeth and along the gum line. Those two steps are quite beneficial in preserving your enamel.

If you’d like to learn more about how nutrition can impact your enamel, ask us for specific details so we can go over what you may be eating or drinking that can be making a difference in your mouth. In general, the more acidic, the more damage foods can do. Just think of things like pop, lemon juice, sports drinks, orange juices, or energy drinks that are very high in acid. Plus, people tend to drink those and then the acid just sits on their teeth.

Other potential offenders may include tomato-based products, coffee, alcohol, oranges, and grapefruits, to name a few.

Ask yourself: do you or your kids drink soft drinks every day? They can have phosphoric and citric acids. Even fruit drinks are acidic, and some are so acidic they can be more erosive than battery acid. Those are two major offenders you can cut down on or entirely avoid.

Besides taking a look at nutrition with you, we also encourage you to use a mouthwash to fight off demineralization. This is one more way to fight plaque in hard-to-reach areas or in stubborn areas in the mouth. Just ask us for the one that is right for you.

Last but not least, keep up with your regular check-ups with us, where we do a professional, deep cleaning and where we spot any problems before they are made worse.

All in all, the “secret” to strong enamel really isn’t that much of a secret!

In Conclusion…

Enamel is so durable that it’s stronger than bones in your body. But unlike bones, your teeth don’t grow back if you damage them. Said another way, you can’t re-generate your enamel! But with more than 300 types of bacteria that can attack your teeth and wear down the outermost layer, it does take daily habits to protect and preserve your enamel! (2)

The takeaway: even though enamel is very strong, you want to be careful with your teeth and you want to protect and preserve the enamel the best you can.

Want to learn more about Hagen Dental? We invite you to schedule your next regular professional cleaning with Dr. Hagen by calling (513) 251-5500 or by clicking the online scheduling button here on our website.

Sources:

  1. https://crest.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/enamel/tooth-enamel-loss-erosion-repair
  2. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/fun-teeth-facts-part-2

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