Have you ever wondered what tooth enamel is or what purpose it serves? Enamel is the substance that coats each tooth to protect them from getting damaged. We often hear dentists talk about tooth decay and it is, in fact, erosion to the tooth enamel that they are talking about. Understanding the role of enamel helps us to look after our teeth and prevent potential problems.
Tooth enamel is the hard stuff that you can see when you look at a person’s teeth. Did you know it’s the hardest substance in the whole human body? It has to be when you think of the daily activity your teeth go through. It’s harder than bone but it’s not immune to decay when exposed to harmful substances like acid or bacteria.
When chewing and grinding up pieces of food, there’s always a risk of damage and enamel’s primary purpose is to protect. Usually your enamel is plenty hard enough to protect teeth while eating. In addition, nerves inside the teeth alert you to excessive hot or cold in a further protective measure to prevent tooth damage. Enamel also helps to protect these nerves, so you don’t feel pain when eating.
It’s a tough substance but it can chip or crack, especially if eating something hard or very crunchy. Having chipped or damaged enamel means your tooth is no longer fully protected. You might start to feel discomfort when eating hot, cold or sweet things.
Enamel decay doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Your dentist can recommend different procedures depending on the level of decay. Regular check-ups are important for catching problems before they become painful or more serious. Dentists can use artificial material to replace enamel, filling cavities with a filling substance containing gold, mercury, plastic or silver.
Scale and Polish treatments available in Leicester from SJRDental are recommended for keeping your enamel looking clean and fresh. For General Dentistry Leicester, visit SJR for check-ups and all dental services.
To give your enamel a helping hand, it’s best to avoid or limit certain food and drink. As sugar and acid both dissolve enamel over time, most dentists would recommend avoiding fizzy drinks, even the diet variety. Sports and energy drinks also contain high levels of sugar and acid, particularly citrus flavours. Fruit juice and citrus fruit pose similar issues so it’s advisable to brush teeth immediately after consumption. Sweets and chocolate also contain lots of sugar.
It can be hard to notice any enamel problems as changes in teeth can be subtle. The most obvious symptoms include pain or throbbing when eating or drinking hot, cold or sweet things. This level of sensitivity can be an indication of enamel loss. You should see your dentist as the problem is only likely to worsen over time.
You might notice some discolouration or yellowing, no matter how much you brush and use mouthwash. This is because enamel is what makes teeth look white and as the enamel erodes, more dentin shows, which is yellow. Chipping, rough edges and indentations are further signs that erosion is taking place. Enamel is important stuff. It protects, prevents discomfort and gives teeth a better appearance. Look after your enamel!