Enamel is a critical component of dental health, and yet, many people have no idea what it is or how it works. As the outer layer of your teeth, the enamel is responsible for protecting each tooth’s sensitive inner layers, while also maintaining a white and bright smile. Enamel loss can prove devastating, so it’s crucial that you take every step necessary to protect what you still have.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Loss?
Enamel is a uniquely durable material, but it’s not invulnerable. Susceptible to acid erosion, enamel may wear away due to the excessive consumption of acidic substances. Erosion may also occur in response to acid reflux, eating disorders, and other health conditions.
What Can Be Done to Prevent or Treat Enamel Loss?
With enamel, prevention is key. There is no way to re-grow enamel, so it is critical that you protect what you have. The following are a few of the best tactics for preserving enamel:
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages, including soda.
- Use a straw when drinking soda or juice.
- Eat a piece of cheese or drink a glass of milk after meals or snacks.
- Wait at least half an hour after meals before brushing your teeth — any sooner and you may further wear away the enamel.
- Hydrate regularly with water, especially if you don’t produce enough saliva on your own.
- Chew sugar-free xylitol-based gum.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with enamel-strengthening or prescription toothpaste.
- Visit the dentist every six months for routine check-ups.
Things get a little more complicated after you’ve lost a considerable amount of enamel. Unfortunately, there is nothing your dentist can do to return your smile to its original form. Beyond continuing to preserve your remaining enamel, however, your dentist can assist with restorative or cosmetic procedures to make your smile as healthy and as attractive as possible. Top options may include porcelain veneers and full-coverage crowns. These can improve the appearance of your teeth while also providing much-needed strength.
Nothing improves a first impression quite like a beautiful smile. Your efforts to preserve your enamel or restore the appearance of your teeth will pay dividends in the long-run.