Preserving Your Dental Enamel: What You Need to Know

Posted on: 1 October 2015

Like so many things in life, your dental enamel is one of the things you don't miss (or even particularly notice) until it's gone. And when it's gone, it's gone. This dental enamel is the covering of the tooth and is what protects the inner portions of your teeth from damage and decay. Extremely rich in minerals, enamel is one of the strongest parts of your body, but it's quite easy for the enamel to become demineralised via the consumption of sugar and acidic foods and drinks. Once the enamel is even partially demineralised, your teeth are highly susceptible to decay. Semi-transparent, dental enamel covers your teeth, but it does not give them their colour. The colour of your teeth is determined by your dentin, or the main portion of your teeth. While you can't even see it, dental enamel is invaluable when it comes to protecting your teeth. So how can you preserve your dental enamel, ensuring that your teeth remain as strong and healthy as possible?

Brush, Floss, and Rinse

Correct dental hygiene, along with rinsing your mouth after consuming food and drink high in sugar (which creates lactic acid when it combines with bacteria in your mouth) is effective when it comes to preserving your dental enamel. It is acidic wear on your teeth that most commonly weakens the enamel, allowing cavities to form.

Mouth Piercings

Mouth piercings, whether it's a pierced lip or tongue, is bad news for enamel. The natural motion of your tongue or lips causes the piercing to rub against your teeth, which then strips away the enamel. Mouth piercings are an unfortunately effective way to degrade your dental enamel.

Legal and Illegal Drugs

Some medications can have an adverse effect on your dental enamel. Some sedatives, antidepressants, antihistamines, and medications for cardiovascular conditions cause your mouth to dry out. This lowers your natural level of saliva, which is another line of defense against enamel erosion. Your saliva neutralises acid that can attack your teeth, and with a reduced level of saliva, your enamel is more vulnerable. It might be as simple as chewing sugarless gum to encourage saliva production, but you should speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Illegal drugs (particularly ecstasy) can cause teeth grinding, which is highly detrimental to dental enamel.

While one day it might be possible for your dentist to replace lost enamel, it is not yet a reality. Good oral hygiene on a consistent basis is the best way to preserve your precious enamel. You might also want to switch to a toothpaste that offers added resistance against acids.