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Tooth Enamel: What causes eroding?

The covering that protects our teeth is called enamel. While many believe enamel is white, that is a misconception. If you could strip enamel off the tooth, it would appear clear. The surface just beneath the enamel is what is seen, so if teeth appear yellow or grey, enamel is not to blame. Your dentist will explain how keeping dental enamel healthy is critical to maintaining good oral health.

Brushing- Is recommended at least twice per day with a tooth paste or gel using a soft bristle tooth brush. Applying excessive pressure or using abrasive products with a firm brush can do a lot of damage to dental enamel. An electric toothbrush can often alleviate that problem, as all you have to do is guide the brush, and it does the rest of the work. A built in timer also encourages brushing for a full two minutes every time.

Even though enamel is the strongest tissue in the body, it is not invincible.

Flossing- Dental floss removes bacteria between teeth where a tooth brush can’t get. Flossing at least once per day will help reduce plaque build-up which contributes to dental decay.

Diet – Being mindful to keep sugary snacks and beverages to a minimum will help promote good dental health. Enamel erosion occurs when acids from what we eat and drink is consumed and allowed to linger on teeth.

Sugar is not the lone culprit – Any foods with high levels of acid, including many citrus fruits, can do damage to dental enamel. Your dentist would advise you not to brush within one hour of consuming citrus fruits as the dental enamel is softened by citrus, and brushing can damage enamel.

The carbonation in beverages can also promote enamel erosion.

Patients that suffer from acid reflux need to be mindful of the potential damage that could be done. Just as acid going in can damage dental enamel, acids from reflux can pose a problem as well.

Understanding the many ways dental enamel can be damaged might help the patient guard against forming some bad habits such as biting on hard objects like ice; chewing objects not intended for consumption (like pencil tops or fingernails); using teeth to open packages; grinding or clenching teeth.

Even though enamel is the strongest tissue in the body, it is not invincible. Take excellent care of it as it must last for a lifetime, and once it is gone, it cannot grow back.

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