You’ve heard the term before: tooth enamel. But most people don’t know what tooth enamel is, or why they need to protect it. Tooth enamel is a covering of the outer layer of your teeth. Enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body, and this is the visible part of the teeth that you see when looking in the mirror.
The enamel on your teeth are important because they protect against tooth decay. Unfortunately, your body does not replace enamel once it’s gone. As a result, you need to protect this enamel to protect your teeth.
Ways to Protect Tooth Enamel
Before we explain why you should protect your tooth enamel, let’s talk about how to protect your enamel.
Your diet plays a major role in your tooth health and longevity. When you eat sugary or acidic foods, these are the most damaging to your enamel. What happens is that these sticky substances will adhere to your teeth and cause a chemical reaction with the bacteria in your mouth.
When this reaction occurs, lactic acid is produced that will eventually eat through your tooth enamel.
You want to avoid the following foods:
- Fruit juices
- Acidic fruits
- Foods high in sugar
Eliminating these foods alone can help you protect your tooth’s enamel, but this is not enough for full protection against enamel decay.
Following the proper dental hygiene routine will help you protect your teeth. You’ve heard this time and time again: it is very important to follow a dental hygiene routine every day. Dentists recommend the following:
- Brush at least twice daily (after every meal is preferred)
- Floss 2 to 3 times per day
- Brush using a soft bristle brush
It’s as easy as following these three recommendations keep your teeth in good health. But, you must also know when to brush your teeth. If you have a food or beverage that is acidic, your tooth enamel will soft for up to 30 minutes after the food has touched the surface of the enamel. For example, if you drink coffee and brush immediately after, your tooth enamel will be softened, and brushing can damage the enamel at this time.
So, if you’re going to eat or drink acidic foods, allow for at least 30 minutes before brushing.
Why You Should Protect Tooth Enamel
In short, the main goal of tooth enamel is to protect your teeth. But, this enamel can break or crack with relative ease, and won’t be able to protect your teeth adequately. This is when you’ll experience pain when eating cold or hot foods, or even when eating foods that are filled with sugar.
If your enamel is in proper condition, you should never experience pain or discomfort when eating hot, cold or sugary foods.
Remember, tooth enamel will not restore itself naturally. This enamel is not from living cells, so you’ll need to seek out the dentist to help you restore this enamel using other techniques. Dentists may use artificial products to restore your enamel.
Normally, your dentist will only perform procedures that are beneficial to stop the pain. This includes:
- Filling cavities
- Placing an artificial crown on the tooth
There are currently experimental treatments available to help restore and regrow enamel, but none of these have been approved as of yet.