What is Tooth Enamel, and Can it Be Restored?

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body; it’s even harder than bone. However, just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it can’t decay. Much like anything in your body, it requires your time and care to keep it strong. Here’s some useful information that we here at Susquehanna Dental Arts think you should know in order to keep your smile as healthy as possible.

What is Enamel Erosion?

A common misconception about enamel erosion is the cause. Many people think that only what you eat and drink can affect enamel strength, and that does play a large role; sugary drinks, acidic foods, and caffeinated beverages are all strong factors in enamel erosion. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to enamel erosion, such as tooth grinding or even medications that you’re taking.
Enamel erosion, fortunately, is fairly easy to identify. Some of the most common symptoms are discolored teeth, sensitivity to hot or cold foods, and more frequent chips or breaks. The big question is, can your enamel be restored to its original state? If so, how can you do that?

How Can I Bring My Enamel Back?

Unfortunately, once enamel is gone it is impossible to bring it back. Your body is not capable of making new enamel; that’s why it is so important to protect the enamel that your teeth still have. The best way to restore enamel is a process called “remineralization”. Products that contain minerals such as calcium are designed to hone in on weak spots in the enamel and strengthen it before further damage can be done.

How Do I Prevent Further Erosion?

mold of teeth sitting on table

There are many ways to protect your teeth from further enamel erosion. An easy start is to chew sugar-free gum between meals. Chewing gum boosts saliva production, and saliva helps to strengthen your teeth through naturally-occurring minerals. Read the label carefully, though; make sure you’re choosing a gum containing xylitol, which is proven to reduce acids in the mouth following food and beverage consumption.

If nightly teeth grinding is your problem, you can talk with your dentist about potentially being fitted for a mouthguard to wear to prevent further damage to your teeth. Medication can be tricky, but if you must stay on a medication that is causing enamel erosion, you may be able to take a calcium supplement to help your body protect the enamel you still have.

Avoiding acidic or excessively sugary foods and drinks can help prevent further erosion as well. If you do decide to partake in a sugary soda or lemonade, try to drink through a straw so it doesn’t come into contact with your teeth. Drinking water while eating something sweet can also help to swipe lingering, potentially damaging particles away from your teeth.

Your enamel is extremely important to the overall health of your smile, and we want to make sure it’s getting the best treatment it can. Schedule a visit with us at Susquehanna Dental Arts today at 717-684-3943 to check your enamel’s strength and get you started on the path to a healthy smile today!