Tooth enamel is often forgotten about, as it is difficult for the average person to visually distinguish it from the rest of the tooth. Enamel is best described as a thin calcified material that is incredibly sturdy. Enamel is strong but not indestructible. The problem is, you might not find out your tooth enamel is wearing away until most of it is gone. Unfortunately, plenty of foods, beverages and insufficient dental habits can cause tooth enamel to erode. Here is a closer look at the importance of tooth enamel and how to prevent it from eroding.
What happens when tooth enamel erodes
Tooth enamel will gradually erode with the consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, salad dressings and other highly acidic foods and beverages. If teeth look more yellow, show dents or cracks, appear transparent toward the edges or feel more sensitive, the enamel might be dissipating. If enamel is breached, the highly sensitive dentin underneath will be exposed. Preserving the integrity of tooth enamel now means less worrying about exposed dentin in the future.
How to stop tooth enamel erosion
Most people have the power to stop, or at least slow, tooth enamel erosion. Aside from cleaning teeth after each meal, the most important thing to do is consume a balanced diet, limit consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages, and try to completely cut out products that contain sugar. Rinsing out the mouth with water after consuming something acidic can also help. However, people mistakenly clean their teeth immediately following a snack or meal. Tooth enamel is highly sensitive at this point, so it’s important to wait 20-30 minutes after eating before brushing teeth.
Do not lose sight of the purpose of tooth enamel
People may question whether it is worth it to skip a brushing session or eat a highly acidic food. Consider the fact that your tooth enamel is merely as thick as a key. Letting acid wear away at this protective layer will expose the sensitive dentin underneath. Tooth enamel needs to guard the inner layers of your teeth against acids that spur the formation of uncomfortable cavities. Furthermore, tooth enamel will make it easier to tolerate cold, hot, acidic and sugary foods/beverages.
So, do not take the easy road and gorge on acidic beverages and foods without concern for the ramifications. Opt for non-acidic items, clean your teeth promptly, and you will do your part to preserve your limited supply of tooth enamel. Also, be sure to visit our office for more information. We are happy to help you maintain strong tooth enamel and healthy teeth!