Tooth enamel for those of you who don’t know is the thin outer coating of the tooth which is there to provide protection to the tooth from everyday activities such as biting, crunching, and chewing. It also acts as an insulator against hot and cold temperatures. However, although enamel is an important part of a tooth’s composition, once it’s gone then it’s lost forever.
Enamel is different from other parts of the body because it doesn’t contain any living cells, which means that it can’t regenerate and form new growth. Knowing this, it’s important for patients to take good care of their teeth so as to avoid excessive wear and tear or erosion of the enamel. Here are some of the things that can damage your tooth enamel and steps you can take to preserve it.
About enamel erosion
Enamel erosion is triggered by a chemical acid process which occurs in two different forms – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic erosion is caused by internal matters such as gastrointestinal issues, acid reflux, dry mouth, eating disorders and genetics. Conversely extrinsic erosion is caused by external matters such as the regular consumption of acidic food and drink which elevates the amount of acid present in the mouth.
Some of the food and drink which can damage tooth enamel includes:
- Soft drinks
- Fruit drinks
- A diet high in sugar and starches
In addition, behavioural issues such as tooth grinding, friction, stress, and corrosion can also lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.
Signs of enamel erosion
So how do you know if your tooth enamel is wearing thin? Well, if your teeth easily become discoloured after eating or drinking then it’s likely that your enamel has worn down. If your teeth feel more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, then that’s another indication of enamel erosion; and finally if you’re suffering from enamel damage you may see small indentations on the surface of your teeth.
How to protect tooth enamel
To reduce enamel erosion and preserve your tooth enamel you need to start making changes in your diet to cut out foods and drinks which are acidic. It’s also important to pay particular attention to your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day as well as attending 6 month check-ups with your Southampton dentist. A few other tips include:
- Chew sugar free gum after meals to increase saliva and wash the acid of your teeth
- Drink lots of water
- Drink sugary drinks through a straw
- Use a fluoride mouthwash
Often taking these steps is sufficient to preserve tooth enamel but in more severe cases you may need to see your doctor for medical help relating to eating disorders or gastrointestinal issues. If your tooth enamel has been damaged beyond repair then you may need to seek the advice of a cosmetic dentist in Southampton to restore your teeth and your smile. If you’re worried about your tooth enamel then come and speak with Smilemakers and we’ll do all we can to help. You can make an appointment with Dr. Thomas Darling by calling 02380 442626 or contact us online at www.smilemakers.co.uk. We look forward to welcoming you to our clinic.