Can You Restore Tooth Enamel?
The enamel in your teeth is the first and most important layer of protection your teeth have. In order for it to perform its task of protecting the teeth, the enamel must be nurtured properly. Unfortunately, if tooth enamel suffers permanent damage, it cannot be repaired. But the good news is that remaining enamel can be strengthened. Our team of experts at Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Peoria are here to give you tips to restore weakened tooth enamel.
What is Tooth Enamel?
The anatomy of a tooth can be broken down into three layers:
- Pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth. It’s the most sensitive layer because it connects to the gums and nerves.
- The middle layer is made of dentin, which is the largest part of the tooth. Dentin is yellow, so if a tooth has insufficient enamel, the dentin in that tooth becomes exposed. Damage to the dentin (due to weakened enamel), can work its way into the roots, causing injury to the tooth and severe pain.
- Finally, there is the enamel. It’s the hard layer that protects the tooth like a suit of armor. Enamel is the most mineral-dense part of the human body—even more so than our bones. Because the dentin and pulp in your teeth are so delicate, they rely on enamel to protect and preserve them. That’s why it’s so important to maintain and care for the enamel.
How Enamel is Damaged
Because enamel is the outermost layer of a tooth, it’s also the most vulnerable to damage. And because it protects the entire tooth, the breakdown of enamel can harm the entire tooth. The following foods and habits are highly damaging to the enamel in your teeth:
- Sugar. Sugar damages the entire tooth, right down to the pulp, by feeding harmful bacteria. The buildup of plaque causes the enamel to weaken.
- Soda or other carbonated beverages. The acid in soda attacks the enamel until it’s in pieces.
- Coffee. This one might hurt to read! But the damage too much coffee does to tooth enamel is even more painful.
- Tobacco. Chewing, smoking, or any consumption of tobacco is deadly to enamel. Tobacco causes enamel erosion and staining of the teeth.
- Insufficient brushing. As stated earlier, the enamel protects the entire tooth and needs to be cared for daily, to prevent decay and more serious problems down the road.
Ways to Restore Tooth Enamel
Now we know there are ways to restore tooth enamel that has been weakened. But what can we do to restore it?
- Brush! It may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Never skip your morning or nighttime brushing! Brushing removes harmful bacteria that can lead to mineral loss. Fluoride in toothpaste can also help remineralize the enamel.
- Drink water. The minerals in water can reduce the demineralization that occurs from sugary and acidic beverages, such as soda, coffee, and orange juice. If you do consume these beverages, rinsing your mouth out with water afterwards can mitigate the enamel erosion they cause. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which contains important minerals that the enamel needs.
- Consume sufficient calcium. Calcium remineralizes the enamel in your teeth, which strengthens your teeth in turn. Make sure to incorporate lots of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, into your diet. Dairy products also boast high levels of calcium.
- Stop smoking. Because tobacco is so destructive to enamel, the best option is to avoid it altogether.
Dentist in Peoria
At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry, we’re optimists. While there’s no way to replace destroyed enamel, we’re confident that we can help you maintain the rest to ensure your smile stays healthy and bright! Give us a call to schedule an appointment with our talented team today.