Enamel is like a shell that protects the soft part of the teeth. It is tough and is considered as the hardest substance in the body. If proper care is taken, it can be easily prevented from getting damaged.
Light can shine through enamel. The layer beneath dentin makes a tooth look light or dark. Having excess of tea, coffee, cigarettes, wine, and other substances can stain the outer layer of your teeth and make it yellow.
In-spite of being tough, tooth enamel can breach. It can be eroded by bacteria and acids from foods. This leads to cavities and permanent damage. It can also be chipped and cracked and can’t re-grow.
Effects of damaged enamel
Cavities are not the soul problem of damaged enamel. The inner layer of enamel gets exposed which leads to tooth decay.
Teeth with damaged enamel are sensitive and can react to extreme cold or heat. Sipping a cup of hot coffee or cold-drink can be painful and less pleasant.
Causes of damaged enamel
1. Oral hygiene
Not rinsing the mouth properly after eating can promote the growth of bacteria. This happens because the bacteria in the mouth grow on sugars from sweet food. This forms acids that can destroy enamel and give rise to gingivitis.
2. Acidic foods
The intake of certain foods must be limited as it causes teeth to stain. The acid present in juices, sodas and drinks is harmful. Some of them are harsher than battery acid. Over the time, they can erode and shrink the size of tooth.
3. Wine consumption
If you are a regular consumer of wine, you have a high risk for enamel erosion. This happens because, when you sip wine many times a day it exposes your enamel to harmful acids. It is always advisable to have a glass of wine with a meal instead of sipping it for hours together.
4. Digestive Problems
Tooth enamel can be damaged by certain health conditions. Sometimes the acids from stomach enter mouth due to frequent vomiting and cause tooth erosion. Stomach disorders, acid reflux and other eating disorders can lead to this.
5. Dry Mouth
Saliva plays an important role in mouth. It takes care of acids in the mouth that erode your teeth and helps in restoring tooth enamel. Dry mouth can be caused by various reasons and if it is caused by the side effects of health conditions, the acids stick around longer and cause more damage.
6. Grinding Teeth
Teeth grinding or bruxism is another cause of enamel damage. The continuous friction and clenching can fracture your enamel. It becomes worse when you sleep and are unable to control it. You can take advice from your dentist to get rid of this.
7. Opening packages with teeth
Never use your teeth to open bottles, containers or packages. These might chip or crack the enamel.
Ways to prevent tooth enamel erosion
Prevention is better than cure. You can prevent enamel erosion by taking the following simple steps.
- Brush your teeth gently with soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- You can consume some milk or a piece of cheese after a meal to zap the acids.
- Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol is another way to stop acid damage since it helps in the formation of saliva.
- Take care of your dental hygiene.
- Do not use toothpicks; floss your teeth once in a day.
- If you are using teeth whitening products than follow the directions correctly since they can be bad for your teeth.
- Lastly you can always consult your dentist to keep your oral hygiene intact.