Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. This tough shell is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that’s visible outside of the gums.
Because enamel is translucent, you can see light through it. But the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, is the part that’s responsible for your tooth color — whether white, off white, grey, or yellowish.
Sometimes coffee, tea, cola, red wine, fruit juices, and cigarettes stain the enamel on your teeth. Regular visits to your dentist for routine cleaning and polishing can help remove most surface stains and make sure your teeth stay healthy.
The enamel helps protect your teeth from daily use such as chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding. Although enamel is a hard protector of teeth, it can chip and crack. Enamel also insulates the teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals.
One of the main causes of enamel erosion is acids found in the foods and liquids you consume. Saliva constantly neutralizes acid in your mouth to protect your teeth. But if you eat too much acidic food and drink and don’t properly brush your teeth, the outer layer of enamel will degrade over time.
Enamel erosion can be caused by what you eat, particularly:
Once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot be brought back. However, weakened enamel can be restored to some degree by improving its mineral content. Although toothpaste and mouthwashes can never “rebuild” teeth, they can contribute to this remineralization process.
Remineralization introduces minerals, especially calcium, to the teeth. These minerals bind to the surface of the teeth and are drawn to weak points in the enamel. This is especially effective in cases of dental erosion since tooth surfaces might be weakened without being cracked or chipped.
Enamel’s chief ingredient is calcium phosphate, also known as hydroxyapatite. Products with high concentrations of calcium phosphate or with fluoride, a common additive, are best at helping teeth to remineralize naturally before damage exceeds the point of no return.
If you’ve experienced significant enamel erosion, a dentist can help you with a few techniques. The first is called tooth bonding. Bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored material known as the resin is applied to stained or damaged teeth. The resin can cover up discolorations and protect your tooth. You may want to consider tooth bonding if enamel erosion has caused discolorations on your front teeth.
In more severe cases, your dentist may add a veneer or crown to your damaged teeth to prevent further decay.
The best way to treat enamel erosion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Even if you already have some enamel erosion, you can still prevent it from becoming worse by looking after your teeth with good oral hygiene.
Some foods invite tooth decay. Other foods help fight plaque buildup. Here are some foods to seek out and some to stay away from.
Some suggested foods:
Stay away from these:
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Dr. Seif received an award in Aesthetic Dentistry and an Advanced Standing Achievement Certificate and held a position as a part-time clinical instructor.
Dr. Seif has more than 15 years of experience as a dentist and has obtained two dental degrees. Dr. Seif earned his first degree in dentistry in Syria in 1998 and practiced general dentistry until coming to the US to advance his education by earning a second dental degree from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, a world-renown dental institute. While at Loma Linda, Dr. Seif received an award in Aesthetic Dentistry and an Advanced Standing Achievement Certificate and held a position as a part-time clinical instructor.
Dr. Seif’s compassion and friendly nature is evident to his patients. He believes that every individual should be treated in a kind, caring and respectful manner. Dr. Seif is dedicated to life-long learning and enjoys participating in post-graduate courses that enable him to provide his patients and community with the excellent dental care he believes every person deserves.
Moving from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2014, Dr. Seif now calls Baytown his home. Along with cooking, friends, family and his dog, Sophie, he enjoys southern culture. He is enthralled by the friendliness and hospitality he finds in Texas, saying, “This is exactly the kind of community I want to live and practice in!”