What is Tooth Enamel?
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 6/17/2019
Did you know that the hardest mineral substance in your body can be found in your mouth?
If that comes as a surprise to you, then you have a lot to learn about tooth enamel.
What is tooth enamel?
Tooth enamel is the outer surface layer of your teeth. Containing a number of minerals, its primary function is to serve as protection against tooth decay. Healthy tooth enamel, while semi-translucent, typically varies in color, from light yellow to a grey or blue-like white.
Even though it is considered the hardest mineral substance in the human body, stronger than even bone, tooth enamel is vulnerable to acids from everyday foods and drinks. Specifically items that are sweet or contain starch can produce acids that weaken and eventually destroy tooth enamel. Once that enamel is gone, it can be gone for good.
Protecting your tooth enamel
There are two different types of damage that can affect the enamel of your teeth. Abrasion is the type of damage that comes from something rubbing against your teeth, like brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, for example. Erosion, the other type of damage, is what happens when tooth enamel broken down by the dietary acids from certain foods and drinks.
Warning signs that damage to your tooth enamel has occurred range from the yellowing of your teeth to sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.
As the first line of defense against tooth decay, it is important to protect enamel from damage. This can be accomplished through daily brushing and flossing, twice a day, and regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings. Remember to follow proper brushing technique to avoid abrasion of the enamel. It would also be best to avoid sugary foods and acidic fruits and beverages, which can produce lactic acid after interacting with bacteria.