You're likely aware of what enamel is, but did you know that enamel is the strongest substance in your entire body? Enamel is translucent and forms a hard outer shell around your teeth to keep them safe from wear and tear.
Enamel also shields your teeth from feeling extremely hot or cold temperatures that come from the foods you eat and keeps certain chemicals and acids from damaging your teeth.
If your enamel wears down, your teeth are more prone to decay and cavities. You may also notice that your teeth are more sensitive to cold or hot foods, beverages, and sweets. Without enamel, food and medication substances can travel through the holes in your enamel and directly affect the nerves of your teeth.
Fortunately, there are some habits you can incorporate into your daily life to keep your teeth in great health. It's also important to know what you should look out for when you're trying to keep your enamel intact.
What Is Destroying Your Enamel?
If you have enamel damage, this can come from eating too many sweets. Keep in mind that the bacteria that are naturally present in your mouth feed off sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more these bacteria create acids that can erode your enamel. Sugar will ruin your teeth even more if you don't brush and floss regularly.
Eating sour foods and candies can also ruin your enamel since these contain high amounts of acid.
If you have a dry mouth, you are more likely to have weak enamel. Saliva is essential for the prevention of tooth decay since it washes away food particles and bacteria out of your mouth. Saliva is also necessary to bring acids in the mouth back to a balanced level.
If you suffer from health conditions like GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux disease, you may notice that your tooth enamel is not as strong as it should be. These conditions force stomach acid to travel to the mouth, where it can damage the enamel.
Other health issues like binge drinking, bulimia, and alcoholism can also weaken the enamel. People with these conditions throw up often, which exposes the teeth to more acid.
It's also important to remember that certain supplements or drugs can cause enamel loss as well. If you have to take vitamin C or aspirin often, you may want to ask your doctor if there are ways to take these substances without ruining your teeth.
If you brush too hard, you could ruin your enamel. Be sure to use a gentle toothbrush to keep your teeth intact. You should also talk to your dentist if you grind your teeth at night. You likely do this without being aware of it, so you may need a mouthguard to prevent further damage.
What Are the Symptoms of Damaged Enamel?
If your teeth are losing their enamel, you'll likely notice that it is painful to heat foods that are very cold or hot. You may also feel pain when you consume food or drinks that are high in sugar. If you have uneven edges on your teeth, your teeth could chip or crack once the enamel is gone.
If your teeth are turning yellow or brown, this likely means your enamel is weak. Check your teeth to make sure they are not extremely shiny or smooth since this is an indication of mineral loss.
How You Can Protect Your Enamel
Proper dental care is the most effective way to maintain oral health. If you live in the NYC area, you can contact an orthodontist in New York to help you maintain your enamel. You should also cut down on foods and drinks that are high in acid.
If you do want to enjoy acidic items like citrus fruits or soda, it's best to enjoy them during a meal. This keeps the acid from being so harsh on your enamel. You can also end your meal with a piece of cheese or a glass of milk to cancel out the acid. If you eat or drink something that contains acid, rinse your mouth with tepid water right away.
If you like chewing gum, make sure it's sugar-free. This will keep you from producing lots of stomach acid. Chewing gum helps you produce more saliva as well, which makes your teeth stronger.
Remember to stay hydrated, especially if you suffer from dry mouth. When you brush your teeth, use a toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride to make your teeth stronger.
It's also important to get the treatment you need for alcohol dependence, GERD, or bulimia as soon as possible.
Even if you lost some of your enamel, there are some ways to repair it. You can ask your dentist about tooth bonding to protect damaged or worn-down teeth. Crowns, which are coverings for teeth, are also helpful when you want to keep your remaining enamel in place. Be sure to come up with a thorough treatment with your dentist so you can maintain your oral health for years to come.