What is the enamel?
The enamel is a thin outer coating that can be found on the visible part of your teeth. This thin shell is the toughest tissue in the human body, and it covers what is known as the crown of the teeth. The enamel is translucent, and you can lightly see the dentin through it. The enamel is white, but the dentin is yellowish. In time, if the enamel becomes too thin, your teeth will change their color into an unwanted yellow. Coffee, cola, red wine, tea, and fruit juices can also stain the enamel, changing the color of your teeth. By visiting your dentist regularly for routine cleaning, you can remove the surface stains and improve the color of your enamel.
What is the purpose of the enamel?
Enamel is crucial for the health of your teeth. Enamel protects the teeth against daily use (biting, chewing, grinding, etc.). But no matter how tough your enamel may be, it can still crack, chip and erode. And even though it contains calcium, if it gets chipped it will not repair itself like a bone. The enamel is not living tissue, and the body is not able to repair cracked or chipped enamel.
The tooth decay is the result of acids wearing down the enamel of your teeth. This can be the result of excessive consumption of foods and beverages that are too acidic, like sodas. Sodas have high levels of citric and phosphoric acids, and if you consume too much of it, the enamel will be washed away. But the enamel can be affected by other things, including:
- Dry mouth and low saliva levels
- Acid reflux
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Fruit drinks (that are acidic)
The story of enamel and plaque
Plaque is the sticky film made up of food particles, bacteria, saliva and other substances. You can always find it on your teeth in the morning when you wake up. Plaque forms all over in your mouth, including on your teeth (and between them). If plaque stays on your teeth too much, it will become tartar, which is a calcified plaque. It is essential to remove plaque from your mouth daily, twice (once in the morning and once before going to bed). The plaque has permanent contact with the enamel and can damage it quickly, causing cavities.
How to prevent enamel loss?
You can prevent enamel loss by having a good oral hygiene. Remember to brush your teeth twice every day, floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash. In addition to this, it is recommended to visit a dental office at least once every six months for a periodic checkup and cleaning.
Aside from all this, minor habit changes can help maintain the health of your teeth longer. By eliminating the acidic drinks and foods from your diet, you avoid submitting your teeth to acid attacks. If you do want to consume an acidic beverage, try drinking it with a straw. By doing so, you prevent the direct contact between the beverage and your teeth.
For more information about the enamel and tooth erosion you should ask your dentist at the end of your meeting.