Have you ever taken a bite into some yummy ice cream only for a wave of pain to shoot through your mouth? Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures is a common sign of erosion of the enamel of your teeth, or the outer layer of it. How exactly does the enamel protect the sensitive underlying layers of your teeth? How can you take care of your enamel? A dentist near Union City is here to answer your questions about enamel.
Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?
The enamel is the outer layer of the tooth. Underneath that is a more yellowish layer of a substance called dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules that lead to the sensitive nerves of the teeth. Enamel protects those tubules from being overstimulated by hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks.
Your enamel is made of the hardest material in your whole body, even harder than bone. However, it contains no living cells, so it cannot be regenerated. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. That’s why it’s important to take care of the enamel you have left and prevent it from being worn away.
How Can You Protect Your Enamel?
Good dental care is the best way to keep your enamel healthy. Stick to the following steps:
- Cut back on acidic foods and drinks like sodas or citrus fruits.
- Consume sugary or acidic beverages with a straw so they bypass the teeth.
- Finish a meal with a piece of cheese or glass of milk to cancel out the acids in your food.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
- Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled brush with fluoride toothpaste.
- Rinse with fluoridated mouthwash.
- After you consume an acidic food or drink, wait an hour to brush your teeth.
- Visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
How Can Your Dentist Help?
Your dentist has a few ways to cut down on enamel erosion, such as:
- Fluoride treatment. Your dentist can either prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment or apply an extra layer of fluoride at your appointment. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your enamel and fights against tooth decay.
- Dental sealants. Sealants are a thin, plastic-like coating that are applied to the nooks and crannies of your molars. They prevent bacteria from entering and causing cavities that damage your enamel.
- Veneers or crowns. These restorations not only improve the appearance of your teeth, they can protect against further decay.
Your enamel protects the sensitive inner layers of your teeth form being exposed to painful stimuli. Visit your dentist regularly to make sure your enamel stays in good condition.
About the Author
Dr. Dinesh Patel earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the State University at Buffalo and then completed a post-graduate residency at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY. At Summit Family Dentistry, he makes sure to get to know each patient on a personal level to build the most personalized treatment plan possible. If you want more advice on how to preserve your enamel, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Patel via his website or by phone at (814) 923-4510.