Tooth enamel is the protective outer layer of our teeth, and protects the living tissue of our teeth against bacteria and infection. Enamel is the strongest material in the human body – stronger than the bones which construct our skeleton – but unlike bone, the body cannot regenerate tooth enamel that becomes damaged, chipped or worn out.
While we can take preventative steps to help preserve tooth enamel, such as regular cleaning, regular check-ups by a dentist can also help. These check-ups allow a dentist to spot potential problems, and take remedial action to prevent problems from developing. The dentist can also provide advice on tooth care, in order to get the maximum benefit from tooth cleaning.
While we can take preventative steps to help preserve tooth enamel, such as regular cleaning, regular check-ups by a dentist can also help.
As tooth enamel is damaged, either though cracking or wear, heightened sensitivity or discoloration is common. You may flinch when consuming hot or cold food or drinks, and staining of our teeth may become more apparent. To combat these, it is a good idea to try to reduce our consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as carbonated drinks and fruit juices, as the acidic nature of these products can be destructive to tooth enamel.
Saliva is a naturally occurring fluid, and is the mouth’s primary defence against plaque and acid. Saliva works by rinsing away food debris and neutralizing acid found in the mouth. When saliva levels are low, such as in instances of dry mouth, then the effect of oral acidity is increased. Chewing is a natural producer of saliva, and so waiting until the end of a meal before consuming acidic fruits, when there is likely to be sufficient saliva available to reduce the acidic effects is a good idea.
Regular brushing to remove plaque from our teeth is a major weapon in maintaining good dental health. However, many dentists suggest waiting a short period of time following the consumption of acidic products before brushing, as brushing too soon can actually have the wrong effect and increase acid wear.
When drinking acidic beverages, consider using a straw to reduce the amount of time the acid spends in direct contact with tooth enamel, and also avoid swishing acidic beverages in the mouth to control the spread of acid across the surfaces of the teeth.
Ask our dental team about tips to safeguard tooth enamel at your next exam; protecting tooth enamel can go a long way towards good dental health. Call 817-465-0355 today to schedule your visit.