What Is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the hard, outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay. In fact, tooth enamel is considered the hardest mineral substance in your body, even stronger than bone. In spite of its strength, everyday acids that develop from certain foods and drinks, particularly those that are sweet or contain starch, can put your enamel at risk. Plaque bacteria produce acids that can weaken and destroy tooth enamel. Acids can attack and soften the tooth surface. And once your enamel is gone, it can be gone for good.
Types of Enamel Damage
Two types of tooth damage—abrasion and erosion—can affect the tooth enamel. Abrasion is caused by something rubbing against the teeth. Brushing your teeth with a hard-bristled toothbrush, poking your teeth with toothpicks, or scraping your teeth when removing retainers or partial dentures are possible causes of tooth enamel abrasion. By contrast, erosion occurs when the tooth enamel is overexposed to dietary acids from certain foods and drinks, or acids in the stomach that are regurgitated. It also can be eroded due to the toxins that are released by the plaque bacteria that are around your gum line.
Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Loss
Tooth enamel loss is not always obvious, but some possible signs of damage to the tooth enamel include:
Shape and Color: If your teeth look yellow or especially shiny, you may be experiencing tooth enamel loss.Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods may be an early sign of tooth enamel loss. Later stages of tooth enamel loss can cause more extreme sensitivity. For fast sensitivity relief, try brushing with Crest Gum and Sensitivity Toothpaste. Its unique formula targets the root cause of sensitivity by treating the gum line for immediate relief. Roughness: If your teeth are becoming rough around the edges, you may be experiencing early stages of tooth enamel loss. In addition, indentations on the surface of the teeth can indicate tooth enamel loss.
Other Possible Causes of Enamel Erosion
Overexposure to stomach acid is among the possible causes of tooth enamel erosion. Conditions that promote this problem include:
Bulimia: The repeated vomiting that characterizes bulimia exposes the teeth to stomach acid.Acid Reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, or heartburn can contribute to tooth enamel erosion.Binge Drinking: Frequent bouts of binge drinking that lead to vomiting put stomach acid in frequent contact with tooth enamel.
Can Tooth Enamel Be Restored?
Although tooth enamel cannot be rebuilt, you can prevent enamel loss from acid erosion with a good oral care routine. Crest Gum and Enamel Repair prevents enamel loss and strengthens weakened enamel. It helps neutralize the plaque bacteria around your gum line that can weaken that enamel. It also contains active stannous fluoride, which binds to and strengthens enamel to create a micro-thin shield against acid attack.
Additionally, make sure you rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash like Crest Gum Care Mouthwash.