Do you know what the hardest substance in your body is?
Are you thinking of your femur or another hard bone in your body?
It may be hard to believe that tooth enamel—the hard, outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay—is actually the hardest mineral substance in your body. This tooth covering protects your teeth from food, drink and acids that could destroy the tooth, many of which are the naturally-occurring digestive acids from your stomach and mouth.
Unfortunately, although tooth enamel is hard, it’s not indestructible. Plaque bacteria produce acids that are so strong they weaken and destroy tooth enamel. And then, these acids can attack and soften the tooth surface underneath.
Once your enamel is gone, it can be gone for good. If you begin to notice your teeth looking stained or off-white, you might be suffering from dental erosion which means your tooth enamel has begun to wear away.
If you are afraid your tooth enamel might be suffering, keep reading to learn more—and give us a call at our Carrollton, TX office for an appointment.
Signs of damage
Recognizing the early stages of dental erosion is vital. Let’s take a look at what those symptoms can be:
- If you notice your teeth have a yellowish tint, this could be a result of the dentin (the tissue beneath the enamel) showing through. This is an indication your enamel is wearing thin.
- Along the same lines, transparency in your teeth—especially your front two teeth—is another sign of enamel loss.
- Finally, increased sensitivity to temperatures or strong flavors could be an indication your protective layer has begun to wear off.
Can I replace tooth enamel?
Unfortunately, once enamel is lost it can’t be replaced. That’s why it’s so important to practice preventative strategies and maintain good oral health every day.
Some experts encourage eating extra dairy like milk and yogurt to boost the enamel on your teeth. Dairy can also add another layer of protection between acids and the tooth with its sticky protective enzymes. Fluoride treatments have also been proven to be effective in preventing dental erosion and protecting the health of tooth enamel.
While you can’t replace enamel, you can practice those preventative measures that lower your risk for erosion. And remember, the most important thing you can do is brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. And don’t forget to floss, too!
Finally, when choosing foods try to pick those that aren’t high in acid. Foods like soda and citrus fruits are high in acid that can attack enamel and lead to tooth erosion. On the opposite end of the spectrum, foods like bananas and avocados are enamel-safe and provide good snacking options that are both heart and tooth friendly.
Restorative dentistry options
Depending on the severity of enamel loss, there are still several cosmetic options available. It’s not going to give you new enamel, but it can help restore the look and feel of your smile. Here at Josey Lane we have chosen to participate in continuing education courses that specialize in tooth restoration.
For example, if you are experiencing extreme sensitivity due to tooth enamel loss, dental bonding can be used to cover sensitive teeth while also improving the color of the teeth.
However, for more extreme cases porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns may be recommended. Porcelain crowns restore the function and beauty of your teeth by completely encapsulating them with a tooth-like structure made from porcelain.
If you are suffering from enamel erosion, it could lead to other oral health diseases like gingivitis and gum disease. These diseases can lead to yet more issues in other systems including increasing the prevalence of heart disease and diabetes.
If you think you are suffering from dental erosion, it’s important you get in contact with your dentist immediately. They will be able to offer strategies and suggestions for changes in your diet that could lead to longevity in your enamel.
Also published on Medium.