Tooth sensitivity is triggered by worn tooth enamel or exposed nerves in your teeth. Because of this, you can experience discomfort or pain when you eat or drink something cold or hot. Learn how to strengthen your tooth enamel and what to do to treat tooth sensitivity.
What is the Enamel?
The enamel is one of the most important parts of each tooth. Let’s think of it as a shield. Your enamel is the hardest substance in the body and covers each tooth as a protective, outer layer. The surface of your teeth is made of enamel, which is what gives your tooth it’s look. Enamel is tough because of its structure and composition. Colgate explains that it contains magnesium, sodium, fluoride, and carbonate. It is important because it protects the inner, more fragile areas of your teeth — the dentin and the pulp. This tooth-shield is the first line of defense against cavities and tooth decay. If it becomes damaged, you are more susceptible to developing tooth pain and sensitivity, infection, decay, and other dental health issues.
How to Protect Tooth Enamel
To keep your teeth safe, it is important to protect the integrity of the enamel on each tooth. Over time, enamel can weaken due to the things we eat and drink and lack of proper oral hygiene. Excess plaque, bacteria, sugar, and acids can all lead to cavities in a tooth. If it progresses far enough, decay can occur after the enamel is worn down by acidity. You can preserve your enamel by watching what you eat and drink and practicing good dental hygiene.
Tooth Enamel Erosion
When the enamel becomes weakened, we call that tooth erosion. Erosion occurs when acid wears away at the enamel on the teeth. WebMD explains that erosion can occur by:
- Having too many soft drinks which are loaded with acids. Bacteria in the mouth live off of sugar, and they can make acid that will erode the teeth. If you aren’t properly cleaning your teeth, the issue can get worse.
- Fruit drinks. Some types of juices and fruit drinks can be highly acidic, like soda.
- Sour food and candy. These fun snacks are often some of the worst for our teeth because of how acidic they are.
- Dry mouth or low saliva flow. Saliva plays an important part in preventing tooth decay by washing away bacteria and food that has been left in the mouth. It can also help lower acidity in the mouth so it’s not so damaging to your smile.
- A diet high in sugar. Sugar and starches combined with the bacteria in your mouth can cause acid and lead to breakdown of the enamel.
- Acid reflux disease, like GERD, and heartburn and bring stomach acids up to the mouth and damage enamel.
- Taking medications like antihistamines, aspirin, and vitamin C can have an affect on the teeth.
- Excessive alcohol use or binge drinking, which typically causes people to vomit often. Vomit is hard on the teeth.
Protecting Your Enamel
If you want to protect your enamel, Colgate suggests:
- Eating fruits and vegetables rich in fiber.
- Chewing sugar-free gum to promote saliva production.
- Drinking black and green tea to fight plaque.
- Eating dairy products to help produce saliva and are high in calcium.
- Eating or using products with fluoride in them to help strengthen the teeth.
- Drinking lots of water to help rinse the mouth and keep the body hydrated.
- Avoiding smoking and using tobacco.
- Not chewing ice or any hard substance.
- Gently brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day to clean the teeth.
Visit Young Family Dental
If you are worried about the integrity of your enamel, make an appointment with Young Family Dental Today. Getting your teeth cleaned every six months is one essential step in maintaining good oral health. When you come in for your cleanings, we will be able to assess the integrity of your enamel and notice any signs of wear that could begin to cause you problems. Additionally, these professional cleanings can help you further prevent bacteria and plaque buildup from damaging your enamel. While your daily hygiene routine can prevent many dental health issues, it’s suggested that you combine it with professional care to prevent most of the common issues that can lead to cavities, decay, and other oral health concerns.
Not paying attention to your dental health can lead to a number of issues from enamel erosion to gum disease. When it is time for your regular checkup, or if you are currently experiencing any issues, make an appointment at one of our five convenient Young Family Dental clinics. We’re here to give you a smile that looks and feels good!