How to Protect Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the toughest part of our teeth but it still needs to be protected to prevent erosion. Taking steps to prevent enamel erosion can help to keep our teeth healthy and looking their best.Frays Dental Tooth Enamel

What is Tooth Enamel?

Enamel is the hard outer coating of the teeth. It is the hardest material in the human body and it helps to protect our teeth against decay, physical damage, and the chemicals in our food and saliva.

What Damages Tooth Enamel?

Enamel is there to protect our teeth against various kinds of damage. Although it is much tougher than the inner parts of the tooth it is protecting, enamel can still be damaged over time. The enamel can be worn down or eroded by physical pressure, such as brushing our teeth too hard or grinding our teeth. It can also be damaged by sugar and acid in our food and drink. Citrus fruits and fruit juices are particularly acidic so they can wear down our tooth enamel over time. The acid from our stomachs can also erode enamel if teeth are often exposed to it, for example due to chronic acid reflux. Plaque can also produce chemicals that erode the tooth enamel.

Enamel erosion can cause problems because it exposes the sensitive inner parts of the tooth. Sensitive teeth are often caused by enamel erosion, which can make it harder to eat certain things, such as hot, cold, acidic or spicy foods or drinks. The teeth can also become more likely to stain and the risk of tooth decay is increased because plaque-causing bacteria can get into the tooth. Teeth will also be more likely to chip or break when they have lost their protective enamel.

Tips for Protecting Tooth Enamel

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to grow new tooth enamel, so once it has been eroded it cannot be replaced. However, enamel erosion is usually a very slow process so even if you have already lost some enamel it is possible to prevent the problem from getting worse.

  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks. If you want to have them occasionally, then make sure it is at mealtimes and have a drink of water to neutralise the acid afterwards.
  • Drink water throughout the day or chew sugar-free gum. It can help keep your teeth clean and neutralise any acid.
  • Wait at least an hour after eating before brushing your teeth. The enamel is more vulnerable to erosion after eating, especially if you consumed anything acidic.
  • Don’t brush your teeth too hard. You don’t need to push the brush against your teeth and choose a soft-bristled brush.
  • Clean your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to prevent plaque building up and damaging the enamel.

Treatments are also available that can prevent enamel erosion from causing problems such as decay and damage. Tooth bonding can coat the eroded area with a protective layer of resin to improve the appearance of your teeth. Crowns or veneers can also be used to cover damaged teeth and prevent issues such as tooth decay.

Preventive dentistry is at the core of what we do at Fray’s Dental, so we can advise you on how to prevent enamel erosion and to limit the effects if you’re already experiencing problems such as sensitive teeth.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/enamel-erosion#treatment-and-prevention

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tooth-enamel-protection

 

Dental Care During the COVID-19 Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on all aspects of our lives, including dental care. Frays Dental Surgery is closed during the lockdown, but we are still here at the other end of the phone if you need urgent advice on your dental health.

Dental  care during COVID-19

Can I See a Dentist During the COVID-19 Lockdown?

  • Routine dental appointments are being delayed until it is safe to open the clinic again
  • Call your dentist if you experience any dental symptoms as you can still get useful advice over the phone
  • Your dentist can provide a prescription by phone if necessary, for example, if you need antibiotics to treat an infection
  • Emergency dental care may still available, but you will need to visit an Urgent Care Hub or hospital instead of your usual dental clinic
  • Call your own dentist first for advice on whether you need an emergency appointment and where you can access urgent dental care during COVID-19
  • Urgent dental problems could include a fractured tooth, bleeding, swelling or an infection that can’t be managed over the phone
  • You should not attend your urgent care appointment if you are self-isolating because you or someone in your household has symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 such as a cough or fever

Looking After Your Teeth During Lockdown

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Clean in between your teeth every day with floss or interdental brushes
  • Avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juice that can erode your tooth enamel
  • Avoid sugary foods that can encourage bacteria to grow
  • Protect your teeth from injuries as much as possible, for example by using a mouthguard and avoiding risky activities
  • Remember that prevention is even more important than usual when you can’t see a dentist easily.