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The highly mineralized tooth enamel is your body’s strongest substance. Its job is to protect your teeth from the day-to-day wear and tear associated with chewing and biting food, and the temperature changes experienced as a result of consuming cold and hot foods/drinks. The enamel also safeguards teeth against the erosion brought about by chemicals and acids. As much as the enamel tries to guard your teeth, it is still prone to erosion due to a number of factors.
What happens if the enamel erodes ?
The enamel covers a part of your tooth known as the dentin, which is less dense in comparison to the enamel. With the erosion of the enamel, the dentin loses a part of its protective abilities. The microscopic tubes within the dentin cause sweet, hot or cold foods/drinks to stimulate nerves present in the tooth. This is responsible for the sharp pains that your experience when gulping ice-cold water or chewing on a toffee.
Don’t treat enamel erosion lightly. Not only do you have to suffer from teeth sensitivity and think twice before gorging on dessert or piping hot coffee, but you will also be more vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities. You may start spotting irregular or rough edges on your teeth, which can chip off or crack when you lose your enamel. A thinning enamel also results in yellowing of teeth.
What have you been doing wrong ?
Here’s a list of common reasons that ‘chip away’ at your enamel:
If you have been loading on candies, soft drinks and acidic food, chances are your enamel may have started eroding.
Dry mouth is another contributing factor. A healthy amount of saliva production neutralizes acids and helps wash away the left-over food in your mouth
Binge drinking and bulimia, where frequent vomiting is a common characteristic, expose your teeth to stomach acids.
Too much wear and tear/friction on your teeth, resulting from constant grinding of teeth of vigorous brushing, can cause enamel erosion over time.
What are the best practices you can follow ?
Cut down on the acidic stuff
Limit your intake of carbonated drinks and acidic food. See if you can switch over to low-acidic alternatives. Sip on fruit juices and sodas with a straw as opposed to gulping them straight from the glass/bottle and holding them in your mouth (without swallowing) for too long.
A good way to neutralize the acids is by finishing your meal with a cube of cheese or a glass of milk.
Tackling the low saliva problem
Drinking a lot of water during daytime, and chewing sugar-free gum when possible can tackle dry mouth problems by stimulating saliva flow, and keep enamel erosion at bay.
Don’t forget to rinse your mouth after a meal
While the golden rule is to rinse your mouth after every meal, this is especially important after you have eaten acidic food/drinks. This prevents the build-up of an acidic environment inside your mouth.
However, make sure you don’t brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic drinks and foods. The acid causes your enamel to soften and chips away at it when you brush your teeth. Wait at least an hour before brushing.
If your tooth enamel has been damaged, you can opt for a dental crown or tooth bonding.
Author Bio:- Penny Cooper is an expert associated with Dental Gateway, an online dental recruitment solution exclusively for the dental sector. It helps dental employers find dental staff and gives them full control over the recruitment process. Dental Gateway also offers candidates looking for dental nursing jobs in the UK quick access to employers.