It was Shakespeare that first forced us to ask that now age-old question, “What’s in a name?” But do you ever find yourself asking a more dental-minded question, like “What’s in tooth enamel?” Tooth enamel is strong, as you might already know. Yet it is still susceptible to staining, acidic erosion, and eventually can be decayed to the point of infection. So how do you protect it? What does preventive dentistry really require? What do you do when it shows signs of wear? And put even more simply, what’s in enamel and why does it matter?
What Is Enamel Made Of?
Did you know that enamel is actually the hardest substance in your whole body? It is also the most visible part of the tooth, as it creates the outside layer of the tooth.
It is made of many minerals, but its primary mineral is called hydroxyapatite. And contrary to popular belief, though often called pearly whites, natural tooth enamel is actually a range of colors, from a gray-based white to a light yellow color.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth’s Enamel
Some of the best ways to protect your teeth’s enamel are through daily dental hygiene practices, and also smart eating (and drinking) habits.
For instance, brushing at least twice a day with a non-abrasive toothpaste can be helpful in removing bacteria and food particles that would otherwise create plaque. Flossing is also improtnat, though. Otherwise, you are cleaning approxmiately two thirds of the teeth, and the remaining portions are at high risk of developing cavities.
When it comes to your diet, keep in mind that the bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars. So, the more sugar you consume, the more likely you are to struggle with enamel erosion, which could lead to the need for restorative dentistry. This is particularly true of drinks that are high in sugar, and those that are acidic.
Since people tend to drink slower than they eat, beverages are often on the surface of teeth much longer.
Help avoid dental problems by drinknig mostly water, and if you are going to enjoy a sweetened beverage do so with a straw, when possible. Then brush your teeth, or chew sugar-free gum, which can help to clean the teeth between brushings.