Enamel: A Strong and Vulnerable Shield

Dental enamel is the hard calcified layer that coats your teeth and protects the dentin, pulp and roots. Enamel isn’t indestructible; it can be worn away by time, acid and plaque. Once the enamel is gone, the tooth is vulnerable to decay, which is why it’s so important for you to take proper care of your teeth.

Most people consider skeletal bone to be the hardest substance in the body, but enamel is even harder. Unlike bones, though, enamel doesn’t contain any living cells, so it’s incapable of repairing any damage caused by decay or wear. Sugary food leaves plaque on the teeth, which will erode the enamel if ignored. Certain foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, tart candies, sodas and fruit juices can create an acidic setting in your mouth that will wear down enamel. Some symptoms of enamel loss are tooth sensitivity, rounded teeth, discoloration, transparency and cracks on the surface of your teeth.

When consuming sugary or acidic food, sip water or milk. If you’re craving soda or fruit juice, drinking it through a straw will limit contact with your teeth. Restrict these foods to mealtimes to prevent all-day exposure to acid and sugar. As acid softens enamel, brushing your teeth immediately after eating acidic food may cause further damage. Wait at least half an hour to allow enamel to re-harden.

If you’re worried about the condition of your enamel, it’s time to schedule another dental appointment. Contact Dr. Dr. Christian Weber at 253.358.2265 and come see us at Smiles Dental in Gig Harbor, Washington. We’ll help you regain your strong, healthy smile.