What is Tooth Enamel? And How to Protect It
You’ve likely heard the term “tooth enamel” used by oral care professionals, but what is tooth enamel? Simply put, tooth enamel is the outer layer on your teeth. Enamel covers the part of the tooth that is normally visible above the gums.
What Is Tooth Enamel Made Of?
Tooth enamel is composed of a high percentage of minerals, making it the hardest substance in your body. Healthy enamel is vital in protecting your teeth from cavities and decay.
Tooth Enamel Erosion
The erosion of tooth enamel is a result of excessive exposure to acid. If you frequently consume highly acidic foods or beverages without proper care, your enamel is at risk. Enamel erosion can lead to tooth pain and discoloration of your teeth.
How to Protect Tooth Enamel from Erosion
Fortunately, there are many simple steps you can take to protect the enamel on your teeth:
- Avoid sugary foods. Bacteria feed off of sugar. So the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is that bacteria will eat away at the enamel on your teeth. When drinking sodas and juices, use a straw to ensure that the liquid bypasses your teeth.
- Brush your teeth after each meal. This will ensure that harmful acids and sugars don’t linger on your teeth. If you’re not able to brush your teeth after each meal, brush at least twice a day. The ideal times to brush your teeth are after you eat breakfast and before you go to bed.
- Chew gum containing xylitol. While enamel can’t be replaced, xylitol can help remineralize the enamel on your teeth. Chewing gum also helps to maintain the saliva in your mouth, which aids in neutralizing the acids of food and drinks.
- Use fluoride. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and can even help fight the early stages of tooth decay. Oral care professionals everywhere agree that you should use toothpaste and rinses that contain fluoride.
Protecting your tooth enamel from erosion is just one step in oral care. If you need an orthodontist to help you get your best smile, Dr. Kendra Pratt and her team can walk you through treatment options in a stress-free initial consultation. Dr. Pratt, DDS, MS is a Board-Certified orthodontist in The Woodlands and offers a variety of treatment options to meet your orthodontic needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment.