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What is Tooth Enamel and How to Protect It

Many of our posts mention tooth enamel but we’ve never really discussed in detail exactly what tooth enamel is and the best way to care for it. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your mouth. When you look at a tooth, the enamel is what you are seeing; it covers the entire outer layer of the tooth. Enamel is primarily made up of hydroxyapatite. This is a natural calcium mineral generally found in both tooth enamel and bone. This mineral compound is semi-translucent and can vary in shades from pale yellow, grayish white and off white. Because of its translucency, tooth color is only partially based on the enamel shade.

There are no living cells in tooth enamel and it can’t regenerate like other body parts. When tooth enamel is destroyed, it can potentially cause serious problems. Enamel is the main barrier in guarding your teeth from decay. It also protects all the inner layers from damaging acids and the harmful effects of plaque. The enamel coating keeps your teeth from being damaged by foods and beverages which are too hot or cold.

Because enamel can be broken or dissolved off the tooth, it is important to follow these five tips to help keep your enamel strong.

  • Brush or at least rinse after consuming acidic foods and beverages. Limit your sugar intake.
  • Don’t chew ice and stop biting on non-food items such as the end of pens or your fingernails.
  • When brushing make sure to use a soft brush head in order to not damage the enamel.
  • If you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist about the advantages of a mouth guard.

Interested in learning more about your tooth enamel and how to protect it? Please schedule an appointment with Ellis Dental today.