Enamel is the mineralised substance that covers the outer layer of the teeth. It is the hardest substance in the body, and is50 per cent as scratch resistant as diamond. This semi-translucent layer is responsible for protecting the teeth from wear and tear caused by years of chewing, biting, and consumption of hot and cold food.
The tooth enamel, though, cannot be repaired once it’s destroyed. Church Road Dental & Cosmetics, along with the British Dental Health Foundation, discusses the effects of acid on your teeth and the ways to manage tooth enamel erosion:
The Effects of Acid
The acid in food and beverage can damage the enamel and cause it to weaken over time. This can make your teeth thinner, with the yellow dentine underneath becoming more visible. It can also make your teeth transparent along the edges, making the natural shine of teeth dull.
When the enamel erodes, the teeth can also be more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay. Sometimes, it may also lead to tooth sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking something that is too hot or cold. Other signs of enamel erosion include cracks and roughness at the edges of teeth, and small dents that appear on the chewing surface of the teeth.
Preventing Enamel Erosion
Apart from carbonated drinks, coffee and fruit juices can also wear the enamel down. These drinks contain acids that dissolve enamel quickly. If you want to drink such beverages, do so at mealtimes to reduce damaging effects on the teeth. It is also best to rinse your mouth with after consuming acidic foods and beverages.
It is also recommended to chew a sugar-free or xylitol gum to reduce acid from food and drinks. Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva flow, preventing enamel erosion and strengthening the teeth with key minerals. Alkaline foods like dairy or nuts can also help neutralise acids.
While tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can also break easily. Practice good dental hygiene and cut back on acidic food to prevent enamel erosion. Consult your dentist regularly to keep teeth healthy or for more tips on preventing acid wear and tear.