Tooth enamel is one of the four primary tissues that make up the human tooth. Tooth enamel is a hard substance that is found in the outer shell of each tooth. Enamel is considered the hardest substance in the body. In fact, about one to two percent of enamel is made up of organic materials, in particular, enamelins, which are enamel-specific proteins.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the resilient surface is 96 percent mineral, the highest percentage of any tissue present in the human body. Tooth enamel is even stronger than our bones. But that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. Tooth enamel can decay or break down when bacteria break down the sugars in foods creating an acid or hole.
Enamel plays an extremely crucial role when it comes to protecting the teeth from decay and damage. Enamel creates a strong barrier safeguarding the teeth’s inner layers from the impact of plaque and acids.
The nerves in your teeth are sensitive to temperature, meaning foods that are hot or cold can cause tooth pain. The enamel works to insulate the rest of the tooth to eliminate or limit the amount of discomfort you feel when eating or drinking something hot or cold.
Although tooth enamel is a hard, protective surface, it can still crack or chip pretty easily. When enamel chips or breaks, it won’t be able to protect your teeth adequately. You may become aware of your enamel problem if you start to feel pain while eating, especially if you are eating something particularly sugary, hot, or cold. Here are some common signs of damaged tooth enamel:
Tooth erosion is caused by acid from the food and drinks we consume, wearing away the teeth’s enamel. Enamel erosion is identified by a smoother, yellower appearance because of the loss of enamel minerals. It also often shows cupping or indentations in the chewing surface where enamel is worn away.
Enamel damage and erosion are caused by the following:
Once your tooth enamel is destroyed, your body will not make more of it to replace it. But, the good news is that dental procedures can help restore your teeth to function properly.
The first technique a dentist can help restore tooth enamel is called tooth bonding. Bonding is a procedure where a tooth-colored material called resin is put on the damaged tooth. The resin covers up any discolorations caused by the damaged enamel and will protect your tooth from further damage.
Another way to restore tooth enamel is by a veneer or crown. A dentist may add this to your damaged tooth to prevent future decay.
There are a few ways to strengthen your tooth enamel naturally, including:
Yes, it is possible to have too much fluoride. While fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, too much of it can cause issues like enamel fluorosis. This condition can develop in children and causes defects in the enamel of the teeth.
Kids with enamel fluorosis may have ingested too much fluoride through supplements. Or, they may have taken fluoride supplements in addition to consuming fluoridated water.
As well as this, swallowing fluoride toothpaste heightens the chances of enamel fluorosis. Most children with enamel fluorosis have mild cases that do not pose a concern. However, in severe cases, the teeth may be discolored, pitted, and challenging to clean.
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