The tooth enamel is the thin hard white substance that covers and protects the dentin and crown of your tooth and helps to maintain the tooth structure and shape. Here are few more facts about tooth enamel:
- Enamel is made up of calcium and phosphate mineral crystals known as hydroxyapatite and is the strongest substance in the human body.
- In primary teeth, enamel is opaque making the teeth look whiter than adult teeth which are translucent. When the enamel weakens it exposes the underlying dentin causing the teeth to appear yellow.
- Enamel can be eroded by acid and grows weak over time. Foods that can lead to erosion include:
- Sugary foods like sweets, honey, ice cream and chocolates.
- Highly acidic foods and drinks like vinegar, red wine, lager and grapefruit.
- Hard foods like pizza crusts and walnuts.
- Carbonated beverages like soft drinks.
- Bulimia and acid reflux also cause tooth damage from stomach acids coming in contact with teeth.
- Enamel can strengthen itself by absorbing additional calcium and phosphate minerals but it does not contain living tissue therefore the human body cannot reproduce enamel neither can it repair itself once it is damaged.
- Signs of dental erosion of the tooth enamel include:
When enamel starts to wear away you’ll experience sharp pain or discomfort when you consume hot, cold or sweet foods or drinks.
- The teeth become yellow because the thinning enamel layer exposes the underlying dentin.
- Small cracks and roughness may appear at the edges of teeth.
- Small dents may appear on the surface of the teeth.
Tooth enamel is eroded by your eating habits and practicing poor oral dental care or not carrying out any dental care. To protect your tooth you should:
- Drink more water and reduce the intake of carbonated drinks.
- Do not let acidic foods and drinks linger in your mouth.
- Make healthy eating choices like snacking on fruits instead of sweets and cakes.
- After consuming high acid foods or drinks, rinse with water to neutralize the acids.
- Chew sugar free gum to produce more saliva to help your teeth re-mineralize.
- When cleaning your teeth, brush with soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Use drinking straws to consume acidic and carbonated drinks. Place the straw to the back of your mouth and do not swish the fluid around or hold it in your mouth for long periods.