Enamel is very similar to an eggshell in that it protects the soft part of the tooth inside. But unlike an egg’s outer layer, tooth enamel is tough; in fact, it’s the hardest substance in your body. And with good dental care it can withstand decades of biting, chewing, and crunching.
Following are some ways the enamel on your teeth may be getting damaged without you even knowing it.
Discolored Teeth: Although enamel may appear to be white, it’s actually clear and light can shine through it. Over time, things like coffee, tea, wine, and cigarettes can make it appear dingy yellow or gray.
From Erosion to Cavities: As strong as tooth enamel is, it can be worn down - acids from foods and bacteria eat away at it, causing erosion and cavities. It can also be chipped or cracked, and unlike bone, it doesn’t grow back on its own.
Tooth Decay and Sensitivity: When tooth enamel is damaged, the inner layer is exposed, prompting decay. Teeth with damaged enamel can have a negative reaction to extreme heat or cold.
How Bacteria Destroy Enamel: After eating, bacteria feast on sugars from sweet foods and starches, producing acids that can destroy enamel - some are even harsher than battery acid!
Wine Lovers, Beware: Drinking wine puts your enamel in contact with harmful acids. It’s better to drink a glass of wine, soda, or sweet tea with a meal instead of sipping it over several hours.
Eating and Digestive Problems: Some health conditions such as acid reflux, stomach problems and eating disorders can damage tooth enamel.
Dry Mouth: Saliva takes care of acids in your mouth that erode your teeth and helps preserve tooth enamel. If you have a dry mouth caused by a drug side effect or health condition, the acids stick around longer.
Grinding Teeth: Over time, the constant clenching and friction can wear down or fracture the enamel and is often worst when you sleep because you can’t control it.
Treatment of tooth enamel loss depends on the problem. Sometimes tooth bonding is used to protect the tooth and increase cosmetic appearance. If the enamel loss is significant, the tooth may need a crown or veneer. Don’t let your teeth get to that point - if you’re noticing changes in your tooth enamel, call our office today to schedule a consultation!