In general, dental patients know that they are supposed to be brushing and flossing to care for their smiles. However, many people don’t fully understand how oral health threats can change your teeth. That is why, today, our Saint Louis dentists are giving you some more information about the properties of dental enamel, and what you can do to keep your enamel healthy and strong for as long as possible.
As you may already know, dental enamel is the outermost covering of your tooth—it’s the white and bright layer that shows when you smile! Dental enamel is designed to protect the more vulnerable inner layers of the tooth, called the dentin and dental pulp.
Because dental enamel does not have any nerves in it, you are able to chew and drink comfortably. Additionally, dental enamel helps to keep dental debris and bacteria from infiltrating the tooth.
While it is strong and durable, dental enamel is not indestructible. Certain habits, substances, and accidents can damage dental enamel and subsequently put the patient’s entire tooth at risk.
- Acidic substances weaken and thin enamel over time
- Habits like chomping on ice and hard candies can cause cracks and chips in the enamel
- Oral bacteria can infiltrate the enamel and cause spots of decay that serve as pathways to the inner tooth layers
- Chronic dental grinding—bruxism—leads to thinning enamel as well as cracks and chips in the dental structure
In order to keep your enamel strong and healthy it is vital that you seek prompt treatment for any dental health issues you may notice, including bruxism. Make sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding caring for your smile at home and professionally. And, wait 20 to 30 minutes after consuming something acidic to brush your teeth—your enamel is softer and more vulnerable during this period of time.
As always, our Saint Louis dentists are happy to provide you with any additional information and guidance that you may need. Give us a call to get started!