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The Truth about Tooth Enamel

Tooth Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth.  Enamel covers the crown of the tooth, which is the part that is visible outside the gums, and is the hardest tissue in the human body.

The color of your tooth is actually the color of the dentin, the main portion of your tooth, while the enamel is translucent. When your teeth are stained by coffee, wine, smoking or other substances, it is the enamel that is stained.  A regular visit to your dentist and your teeth can be cleaned and polished to remove these stains.

So Why is the Enamel Important?

Tooth enamel literally protects your teeth from the day-to-day grind.  All puns aside, every day you bite, chew, crunch and grind food and snacks, and the enamel protects your teeth from the damage.  But enamel can still be damaged by chipping or cracking, and because it has no living cells, it cannot heal on its own, so the damage is forever without the assistance of a dentist.  Enamel also protects your teeth from extreme temperatures and chemicals.

Causes of Enamel Erosion

When enamel is worn down, the tooth will begin to erode. Many things can cause the loss of enamel, but acid of some type is the most common cause.

Causes of Tooth Enamel Loss-Tooth DecayGeneral Causes of Erosion Includes:

  • Acidic Fruits and fruit juices
  • Excessive amounts of soft drinks
  • Eating ice or biting hard onto seeds or popcorn kernels
  • Diets high in sugar and starches
  • Acid reflux disease or gastrointestinal problems
  • Medications, including aspirin or dry mouth (which can be caused by certain medications)
  • Grinding teeth or chewing on ink pens

New Research

According to researchers at Queen Mary University of London, scientist believe they may have developed a way to grow mineralized materials which could possibly regenerate hard tissues such as dental enamel and bone in the future.

Of course, while this is great news in the advancement of science, it does not replace the importance of good dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist.

Prevention of Enamel Loss

To prevent enamel loss from the beginning, eliminate highly acidic foods and drinks from your diet and reduce the amount of sugar and starches.  Drink plenty of water and enjoy sugar-free gum between meals, and make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth.  If you still have concerns, meet with your dentist to ask for recommendations.