Do you know that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body? Tooth enamel is more than 90% hydroxylapatite mineral, while the rest is other organic material and water. This mineral is a crystalline calcium phosphate, which accounts for its strength and also for its brittleness.
Together with dentin, cementum and the dental pulp, it is one of the four main tissues making up the tooth. The color of tooth enamel varies from person to person; it ranges from pale yellow to grayish-white.
Enamel is semi-translucent. That is probably where the concept of enameling originated. Enameling is an art form wherein different items are coated with glass powder and heated at extremely high temperatures. The resulting product has a shiny, glossy sheen, much like the covering of the tooth. Companies like Halcyon Days (makers of jewelry - bracelets, earrings, rings, and other gift ideas) and All-Clad Metalcrafters (manufacturers of kitchen pots, pans and casseroles) all practice enameling.
Check your teeth often for signs of wear and tear. Since the enamel is the most visible part of your tooth, that’s the easiest feature to check. You can recognize tooth enamel loss by the following signs:
- Tooth sensitivity. If you notice some increased sensitivity in a particular tooth, check for enamel loss. When you eat or drink foods of extreme temperatures, this may cause a hint of pain during the beginning stages of enamel erosion. Ingesting sweet foods can also make your affected tooth feel sensitive. The tooth becomes painfully sensitive in the later stages of enamel erosion. This is when extreme sensitivity to sugary substances and temperatures are mostly felt.
- Discoloration. The tooth will begin to appear yellowish as more and more layers of the tooth enamel erode. The dentin, which is the next layer of tissue under the enamel, begins to show.
- Cracks and/or chips. You may notice that the tooth feels rougher. The edges may appear jagged or irregular which leads to cracking or chipping.
- Dents or cupping. This is the appearance of indentations on the surface of the tooth with enamel loss.
- Rounded. The tooth may appear shinier and smoother compared to healthier teeth. This is due to mineral loss.
As tooth enamel continues to erode, the tooth becomes more prone to tooth decay or cavities. When ignored, cavities can continue to grow and penetrate the tooth beyond the enamel. Painful abscess or infection can then occur.
To have a Hollywood-star smile, dazzling teeth is what you want. You can achieve this with proper care and a healthy diet. Brushing and flossing after meals is important for healthy tooth enamel. Constant improper or hard brushing can cause the enamel to erode. Grinding or teeth clenching can contribute to enamel loss as well.
Sugary food and drinks are your enamel’s main enemies. Starchy and acidic foods contribute to enamel loss as well. These substances cause the demineralization of the enamel. So, beware! Avoid foods and beverages laden with sugar, starch or acid. Drink plenty of water after ingesting sugary, starchy or acidic substances. Better yet, brush your teeth right after. Visit your dentist twice a year for a more thorough cleaning and in-depth check of your teeth.
Once tooth enamel is lost, it is usually irreversible. There is much advancement in dental technology that can help prevent tooth enamel loss, but the best prevention is proper dental hygiene. Take care of your teeth. They are the main attractions to your million-dollar smile!