Enamel is the strongest substance in the body, covering of the dentin. Dentin is the part of the tooth that has microscopic tubes and nerves. Enamel does an important task of protecting the teeth from various elements such as:
- wear and tear from chewing and biting
- erosive effects of chemicals and acids
- extreme temperatures from hot and cold foods and drinks
Causes of Enamel Erosion
Despite its strong nature, enamel can get eroded over time.
• One of the leading causes is excessive consumption of sugary beverages. Not only do bacteria love sugar, those drinks are also high in acid that can destroy the enamel.
• Dry mouth or low volume of saliva is another culprit. Saliva neutralizes the cavity-causing bacteria and enamel-eroding acids inside the mouth.
• Then of course, there's the poor dental hygiene, which leads to build up of plaque on the surfaces of the teeth.
• Other causes include:
- certain drugs
- acid reflux disease
Symptoms of tooth enamel erosion include:
- yellow staining
- cracked or chipped enamel
- smooth shiny surfaces on the teeth
- rough or irregular edges of the teeth
- dents or cupping on the teeth surface
- sensitive teeth or tooth pain when consuming hot or cold food and drinks
A person who has tooth enamel erosion is also more prone to decay and cavities. You can prevent this from happening by following these tried and tested measures:
• Rinse your mouth with water after taking in any acidic food or drinks.
• Drink plenty of water during the day. This is especially true if you have dry mouth or low volumes of saliva.
• Limit consumption of sugary and acidic drinks such as carbonated beverages and citrus juices. If you still want to drink these, drink them during mealtimes to lessen the effects of their chemicals and acid on the enamel. Also, opt for modified products like low-acid citrus juice.
• Drink acidic juices and soda with straw. This would help lessen the effects of the acid on the teeth because it goes almost straight into your throat. Don't let acidic drinks stay in your mouth. Swishing them in your mouth is never a good idea.
• Neutralize acids by drinking a glass of milk or eating cheese. You may also chew on sugar-free gum that contains xylitol. This reduces the acids you take in from foods and drinks. Not only that, it also increases the flow of saliva. This helps prevent the erosion of the enamel since saliva can strengthen teeth as well as neutralize both acids and bacteria.
• Use soft toothbrush. Brush thoroughly but gently. Aggressive brushing can wear away tooth enamel. It's smart to use fluoride toothpaste, as this can strengthen the teeth.
• Get treatment for medical conditions that bring acid into your mouth. As mentioned earlier, these include bulimia, acid reflux, and alcoholism.
The tooth enamel is a lot more important than you think. Don't neglect your dental health and be sure to take care of your teeth the best way possible.