When people think about their teeth, they imagine them as individual structures, but this isn’t the case. A tooth is made up of different parts to create the actual tooth in your mouth. One of the most important parts of the tooth is tooth enamel. It’s the outer covering of the tooth, and it’s translucent, which means that light can pass through it. The enamel makes a tooth tougher than it is, and the enamel covers the visible portion of the tooth. There’s also dentin, which gives the tooth the colour you can see on the outside. When you eat and drink certain things, the enamel becomes stained over time.
In this article, we’re going to dive a little deeper into what tooth enamel is and what it does. Let’s take a look:
What Is Tooth Enamel?
As we’ve mentioned, tooth enamel covers the outside of the tooth. Believe it or not, it’s the hardest tissue in the human body. The crown of the tooth is covered by enamel, and sometimes, tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes can stain the tooth enamel. With regular visits to the dentist and the hygienist, you can get the routine cleanings you need to remove those surface stains. Regular cleanings are a must for the plaque on your teeth, but removing surface stains keeps your teeth as healthy as possible.
What Is The Purpose Of Tooth Enamel?
Without enamel, your teeth wouldn’t be protected from things like biting, crunching, chewing and grinding. Tooth enamel protects your teeth, but it isn’t invincible. It can crack and chip under pressure, and it’s up to you to ensure that you look after your teeth properly to avoid this. Tooth enamel can insulate the tooth from painful temperatures and harsh chemicals. Sensitive teeth often become that way when the enamel has worn so much that the tooth itself is exposed more than is necessary.
Why Is Tooth Enamel So Important?
Given that tooth enamel is there to protect the teeth when you grind, bite and chew, you’d expect it to last forever. The thing is, it cannot be repaired when it’s damaged. Enamel doesn’t have any living cells, and so while it’s strong, it can chip, and it can crack over time. Losing tooth enamel is a problem, and it happens when the acids in food and drink wear the enamel away. Erosion occurs over time, and it happens for a range of reasons. Diets that are rich in sugar and starches are one thing, but acid reflux, genetics and even certain medications are to blame for tooth enamel loss.
When plaque gets between the teeth and in the holes of the teeth, especially in the molars, enamel erosion occurs next. Plaque is filled with bacteria that feed directly on the starches to create acid, which wears the enamel and leads to a pitted look.
What Does Enamel Loss Look Like?
When you’re eating hot food or drinking cold drinks, and you have tooth enamel loss, you will feel pain. Teeth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears down and the thinner it becomes, the more painful it gets. Certain sweet foods affect your teeth, and if they become discoloured, you likely have tooth enamel erosion. If you notice indentations on the surface of the tooth, enamel erosion is the cause here, too. This is a severe dental issue, and you should ensure that your dental care is top-notch to ensure that your teeth are as comfortable as possible. You need to speak to your dentist immediately if you notice any signs of enamel erosion, as it can lead to more significant problems like tooth decay.
The treatment for tooth enamel loss really depends on the problem and how bad it gets. Tooth bonding is one of the treatments that is used for cosmetic reasons. As well as this, tooth bonding gives you the protection that your teeth need to slow down enamel loss. Your dentist may even recommend veneers or crowns to protect your teeth further, especially if tooth enamel loss is advanced.
Does Dental Wear & Tear Affect Your Teeth?
When you bite and chew your food, your teeth are affected by the friction, and it can take years for this to be obvious to you and your dentist. The changes that are made are visible, and it can cause you to become self-conscious about your smile. This can be devastating to your self-esteem, but if you’re on top of your dental care, you aren’t going to have that problem.
If you’re dealing with your tooth enamel weakening over time, it’s much harder to avoid tooth decay. Enamel erosion can affect your cavity risk with the wrong dental care, and if you want to avoid issues that lead to much more serious dental work, you need to address a few things. It would help if you looked at your diet and the level of acidic drinks and food that you enjoy. With too much indulgence, your tooth enamel will soften. This means that it becomes far more vulnerable, and as teeth grinding happens in your sleep, you can’t always help it! However, you can recognize the signs and your dentist can give you a mouthguard to help you to keep your teeth safe.
Preventing Tooth Enamel Loss
If you want to prevent your teeth from eroding, you need to do everything that you can to avoid it. Start with your diet, as we mentioned earlier, and then look at how you can fast-forward the production of more saliva. Saliva is going to strengthen your teeth, and chewing sugar-free gum can help you to do just that. Chewing between meals will help, as will drinking more water. Toothpaste that is fluoridated will also help you to strengthen your teeth, and the best thing that you can do is to get the best possible dental care.
If you are concerned about your oral health, give our team a call today and see how we can help you to have straighter, healthy teeth that look fantastic all at the same time!