Of all the things to worry about with your oral health, tooth enamel loss probably wasn’t on your radar. But it should be.
By protecting your enamel, you can preserve your oral health. However, if you ignore it, you could be in for extensive oral treatments later in life.
If you suspect that you’ve lost some tooth enamel, we’ll help you identify what the typical culprits are and what you can do to protect your teeth going forward.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel protects your teeth against decay. It’s the hardest substance in the human body, and it’s even stronger than bone. The enamel protects the dentin, which is the main part of your tooth.
Despite its strength, it is translucent, and you can see right through it when you shine a light on it. It can, however, become stained from drinking coffee, tea, and wine, as well as smoking cigarettes.
Whenever you chew your food or grind your teeth, your enamel protects the structure of your tooth from becoming damaged. Therefore, preventing tooth enamel erosion is key to protecting your teeth for a lifetime. This is especially important because enamel doesn’t grow back or repair itself.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?
Poor oral hygiene habits and consuming foods and drinks that damage enamel can lead to erosion.
The most common causes include:
- Drinking acidic and erosive beverages like soda and fruit juices
- High sugar diets
- Dry mouth or long-term use of medications that cause dry mouth
- Habits such as teeth grinding and clenching
- Gastrointestinal problems, including acid reflux
- Brushing or flossing too hard
How Can I Restore Tooth Enamel?
Although you can’t replace tooth enamel once it’s gone, you can help strengthen it by replenishing the minerals that have been lost. Look for toothpaste that is labeled as remineralizing. Many can be found online or in natural products stores, and mainstream brands such as Crest and Sensodyne now offer this solution as well.
Another option that doesn’t cost anything to do is to work on increasing your saliva production naturally. Your saliva keeps the pH levels in your mouth at optimum levels to prevent further erosion and create an ideal environment for remineralization.
To increase your saliva production, begin by letting some saliva collect in your mouth and pool on your tongue. Then, push the accumulated liquid to the front of your teeth. Repeat several times. If you make this habit part of your daily routine, you’ll notice increased saliva production in a short amount of time.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Enamel Loss?
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings (once every six months, or more frequently if recommended by your dentist)
- Brush and floss gently after consuming meals.
- If you’re drinking beverages that can damage your tooth enamel, use a straw. This causes the liquid to bypass your teeth and go toward the back of your mouth.
- Keep saliva flowing by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol between meals.
- Ask your dentist to recommend any sealants or remineralization products to preserve and strengthen enamel.
You May Need a Custom Dental Solution to Restore Your Smile
Are you concerned about tooth enamel loss? We can help you determine if you’ve lost precious enamel and work with you on a custom plan to help restore your smile. Contact our dental office to schedule an appointment.