Having an attractive smile and healthy teeth is dependent on keeping your tooth enamel strong. However, your tooth enamel is under continued attack by bacteria that lives in your mouth and erode your enamel. If left unchecked, damaged enamel can lead to:
Dr. Hamby, a leading dentist in Fuquay Varina, is sharing what you can do to protect your teeth and restore your tooth enamel.
What Is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the thin, hard coating over the exterior of the tooth that acts as a shield, protecting softer dentin underneath as well as the roots and nerves of the tooth that are more vulnerable. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, even harder than bone, but it can still erode, chip, and crack.
What Causes Tooth Enamel to Erode?
Enamel erosion, also called demineralization, is the primary cause of cavities and is caused by:
- Highly acidic foods and drinks, like soft drinks, sour candy, and fruit juice. The acids can eat through enamel over time.
- Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, and as they do so, release acids that erode enamel.
- Lack of saliva or dry mouth can lead to a build up of bacteria and food particles in the mouth that attack the enamel.
- Genetics, as some people have weaker or thinner enamel than others.
- Medication, including taking vitamin C, aspirin, or antihistamines excessively.
Can Tooth Enamel Be Restored?
Once tooth enamel is gone from an area of the tooth, it is gone forever, especially if the tooth is chipped or cracked. The tooth is highly likely to develop cavities and need restorative dental treatment in the near future.
Fortunately, tooth enamel that is only slightly weakened can be strengthened through a reparative process called remineralization where calcium and phosphate ions build back up over the surface. This must occur before the cavity forms in order to be successful and the process takes over three to four months to fully restore.
5 Ways to Restore Tooth Enamel
Now that you know that you can restore tooth enamel, let’s look at the five things you need to do in order to do so.
Use a Fluoride Toothpaste
Brushing your teeth twice a day removes food particles and bacteria from your teeth which prevents further damage. Fluoride supports the remineralization process and strengthens your enamel more effectively.
Food particles and bacteria between the teeth can continue to erode enamel in these difficult-to-reach areas. Flossing properly at least once a day can also decrease bacterial growth and get rid of food debris.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Chewing sugarless gum after meals when you can’t brush stimulates saliva production. This rinses your teeth and keeps them cleaner between brushing.
Visit Your Dentist
By visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups and cleanings, they will identify demineralization early, before it turns into more serious erosion. Your dentist may even prescribe a fluoride mouth rinse to improve remineralization efforts.
Avoid High-Sugar/High-Starch Foods
As bacteria feed on sugar, it’s important to eliminate foods and beverages high in sugar and starch, including refined bread, soda, candy, and even some fruit juices.
Schedule a Cleaning and Dental Checkup with Our Family Dentist in Fuquay Varina Today
If you’re concerned about the state of your tooth enamel, we can help you begin restoring your enamel and your dental health. Call us at (919) 552-2431, fill out the contact form below, or schedule an appointment online to get started.