What Is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay. In fact, tooth enamel is considered the hardest mineral substance in your body, even stronger than bone. In spite of its strength, everyday acids that develop from certain foods and drinks, particularly those that are sweet or contain starch, can put your enamel at risk. Plaque bacteria produce acids that can weaken and destroy tooth enamel. Acids can attack and soften the tooth surface. And once your enamel is gone, it can be gone for good.
Types of Enamel Damage
Two types of tooth damage—abrasion and erosion—can affect the tooth enamel. Abrasion is caused by something rubbing against the teeth. Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush, poking your teeth with toothpicks, or scraping your teeth when removing retainers or partial dentures are possible causes of tooth enamel abrasion. By contrast, erosion occurs when the tooth enamel is overexposed to dietary acids from certain foods and drinks, or acids in the stomach that are regurgitated. It also can be eroded due to the toxins that are released by the plaque bacteria that are around your gum line.
Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel loss is not always obvious, but some possible signs of damage to the tooth enamel include:
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Loss
- Shape and Color: If your teeth look yellow or especially shiny, you may be experiencing tooth enamel loss.
- Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods may be an early sign of tooth enamel loss. Later stages of tooth enamel loss can cause more extreme sensitivity.
- Roughness: If your teeth are becoming rough around the edges, you may be experiencing early stages of tooth enamel loss. In addition, indentations on the surface of the teeth can indicate tooth enamel loss.
Other Possible Causes of Enamel ErosionOverexposure to stomach acid is among the possible causes of tooth enamel erosion. Conditions that promote this problem include:
- Bulimia: The repeated vomiting that characterizes bulimia exposes the teeth to stomach acid.
- Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, or heartburn can contribute to tooth enamel erosion.
- Binge Drinking: Frequent bouts of binge drinking that lead to vomiting put stomach acid in frequent contact with tooth enamel.
Can Tooth Enamel Be Restored?
Although tooth enamel cannot be rebuilt, you can prevent enamel loss from acid erosion with a good oral care routine. Crest Gum and Enamel Repair prevents enamel loss and strengthens weakened enamel. It helps neutralize the plaque bacteria around your gum line that can weaken that enamel. It also contains active stannous fluoride, which binds to and strengthens enamel to create a micro-thin shield against acid attack.
Additionally, make sure you rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash like Crest Pro-Health Advanced.
How to Stop Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel loss puts your teeth at increased risk for tooth decay. Some tooth enamel loss occurs naturally with age. But you can help stop harmful tooth enamel loss by following a regular oral care routine of twice-daily tooth-brushing and daily flossing. Your tooth enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against the tooth decay.
Protect Tooth Enamel from Acid Erosion
Everyday acids that develop from certain foods and drinks can put your enamel at risk. This acid scale shows the level of acidity in some everyday foods and drinks that can erode your enamel. Help keep your teeth safe from the enamel danger zone and keep them strong with Crest toothpastes.
Use Fluoride toothpaste:
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, such as Crest Pro-Health Enamel Shield Toothpaste. It better protects enamel against the effects of acid erosion of common food and drinks. It contains an ingredient that kills acid-causing bacteria to help prevent tooth decay, a re-mineralizing ingredient to boost the quality of your tooth enamel, and binds to tooth enamel, forming a micro-thin shield to protect the teeth.
- You could also use Crest Gum & Enamel Repair. It targets the gum line to neutralize the plaque bacteria that produces toxins to break down enamel. It’s proven to help repair weakened enamel.
- Use a fluoride mouthwash: By adding mouthwash to your oral care routine that contains fluoride, you protect against cavities in hard-to-reach areas and help neutralize that plaque bacteria in your mouth that can weaken enamel. Add Crest Pro-Health Advanced to your brushing routine.
- Brush and floss regularly: Dentists recommend tooth-brushing at least twice a day, along with daily flossing, to help promote oral health. Try using the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, which has soft, end-rounded bristles that are tough on plaque but gentle on enamel.
*Acids in everyday foods can soften and thin enamel leaving teeth less white, weaker and sensitive.