One of the most important things you can do to maintain oral health is to protect your natural dental enamel. Today, our St Louis dentists have put together some helpful information about caring for enamel; keep reading to learn more…
Dental Enamel: The Basics
Dental enamel is the outermost layer of a tooth; it is designed to protect more sensitive dental layers from bacteria and irritation. Healthy enamel is usually white (natural shades vary) and fairly non-porous and shiny. As enamel degrades it may discolor and dull.
One way that enamel breaks down is due to tooth-on-tooth contact from dental grinding and clenching. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, for example, you may be wearing away healthy tooth structure without even realizing it.
Dental enamel also thins when we regularly consume acidic foods and drinks. When your dental enamel comes into contact with something acidic, it temporarily becomes softer and more porous. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for enamel to re-mineralize or harden, and in that period of time enamel is more vulnerable than usual.
The oral bacteria in plaque and tartar also release enamel-weakening acids. So, if your smile has accumulated bacterial build-up, you may be continually, unwittingly subjecting your teeth to bacteria that eat away at healthy tooth structure.
As you can see, dental enamel is a vitally important component of your smile—it’s worth it to make an effort to treat it well! Please know that our St Louis dentists are here to provide you with any additional information or guidance that you may need. Give us a call!