How to Protect Tooth Enamel and Prevent Erosion

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Your teeth may be small, but because they’re wrapped up in tooth enamel, they’re tough. In fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body — even harder than your bones. Yet despite its tough exterior, your enamel is still vulnerable to certain elements. Knowing how to protect your enamel can prevent erosion — and keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Enamel: The Great Protector

Enamel is the white coating around each tooth that serves as a protective barrier against dietary and plaque acids, tooth damage from daily use, and temperature sensitivity. Yet acids and tooth damage from wear and tear are the biggest culprits to wearing away your enamel (also called “enamel erosion”), along with sugars.

 

And here’s the tricky part: Even though enamel is stronger than bone, it’s not able to repair and regrow itself like bone can. So, once it’s gone, it’s gone. Here are a few signs of erosion:

 

  • Tooth yellowing. When enamel breaks down or wears away, your teeth will appear more yellow in color because the dentin layer beneath your enamel has a natural yellow tone.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity. When enamel wears away, the dentin layer is exposed, so food that is hot, cold, acidic, sticky or sweet can irritate those nerves deep within the tooth, causing sensitivity.
  • Dents and damage. As enamel erodes, your teeth change, becoming more indented on the surface, with the edges becoming more jagged and rough.
  • Tooth decay. Without the protective enamel layer, small cavities can develop on the hard surface of your teeth, causing permanent, tiny holes that can get larger and deeper over time — leaving the inner layers of your teeth exposed, and requiring a trip or two to the dentist.

 

 

 

Enamel Enemies: What to Avoid, What to Do

Knowledge is power, and knowing what can damage your enamel is your first line of defense in protecting it! Here are the usual suspects that can damage enamel:

 

  • Sugary and acidic foods
  • Sodas and fruit drinks
  • Acid reflux
  • Tooth grinding
  • Dry mouth
  • Plaque

 

And here’s what you can do to protect your teeth:

 

  • Use a straw when you drink acidic drinks like soda or citrus juices, so your teeth are protected — or avoid them all together.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking acidic foods to remove acids on your teeth.
  • Drink more water to avoid dry mouth: saliva contains important minerals that strengthen your teeth
  • Fight plaque and you’ll protect your enamel. These 5 tips can help.
  • Brush your teeth with an enamel-strengthening toothpaste like ARM & HAMMERTM Bright & Strong that strengthens and repairs teeth with liquid calcium technology.

 

 

There’s no doubt that your enamel is the first line of defense for tooth protection. Knowing what to do — and what not to do — can help you keep this tough-yet-vulnerable layer working hard instead of wearing away.

 

 

 

 

• Tooth Enamel Erosion and Restoration

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration#1

• Understanding tooth enamel

https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/tooth-enamel

• Dental erosion

https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/mouth-conditions/dental-erosion

• Tooth Enamel Erosion

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tooth-enamel-protection#1

• Tooth Enamel Erosion and Restoration

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration#3

• Cavities/tooth decay

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/home/ovc-20320181

Tips to freshen things up

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