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Emphasizing the Importance of Enamel and How to Protect It

September 4, 2022

Posted By: Shane Smith @ 3:03 am
closeup of tooth enamel

Humans are often advised to chew a bite of food approximately 32 times before swallowing. That can bump up to 40 times for steak and nuts, or down to 10 for watermelon, but the bottom line is your teeth will be called upon millions and millions of times to chew your food throughout your life. That is asking a lot of your teeth, and specifically, it is putting stress on your enamel. The tough outer layer of a tooth that is the hardest substance in the human body, the enamel is still vulnerable to wear and tear over time. Read on to learn from your dentist in Jonesboro how tooth enamel can be damaged, as well as how to prevent enamel erosion and even repair it.

How Does Tooth Enamel Sustain Damage?

Enamel can be eroded by acids, chipped, or ground away. One of the most common dental problems, enamel erosion is often related directly to what you’re eating and drinking. Oftentimes, bacteria in plaque produced by eating sugary foods is attacking the enamel. In children, enamel erosion is almost always related to diet with sugary snacks and drinks as the main culprits. 

For adults, the causes can be more complicated. Diet does play a big role, especially with high-acid foods and drinks. But other factors like dry mouth and acid reflux come into play, as well as certain medications and even genetics. Regular teeth grinding can lead to enamel erosion with molars feeling the brunt of the damage.

How Can You Prevent Enamel Erosion?

Fortunately, most methods to protect your enamel are simple to execute:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit high-acid, sugary drinks like sodas
  • Consume citrus fruits and juices in moderation
  • Save sweet treats for after a meal and then brush your teeth
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating
  • Brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash
  • Visit your dentist regularly for checkups
  • Discuss sealants and fluoride varnish treatments for your molars with your dentist
  • Talk to your dentist about a custom mouthguard if teeth grinding is an issue

What are Your Options for Repairing Enamel Erosion?

Prevention is key to keeping tooth enamel healthy, but if the damage is done, your dentist can repair the erosion with a cosmetic approach. The best option depends on the extent of the damage:

  • Dental Bonding: for small irregularity in a single tooth or moderate damage to a few
  • Dental Veneers: for front teeth that have extensive staining or when you want to change the shape or length of teeth
  • Dental Crowns: for teeth that are severely worn down by enamel erosion, especially if teeth grinding is involved

About the Author

Dr. Shane Smith earned his dental doctorate from the University of Tennessee. Since then, he’s continued to expand his knowledge in the field with hundreds of hours of continuing education. A positive experience where his dentist helped him as a teenager made it clear to Dr. Smith what his career path would become. He can talk to you more about enamel erosion and how to prevent or repair it during your next appointment which you can schedule on his website or call (870) 932-2644.