Tooth enamel is important because it serves as a protective barrier between the food you consume and the sensitive roots and tissues that lie within. If you’ve ever cracked a tooth and suddenly exposed the dentin and pulp that live beneath the hard surface of the enamel, you know what a vital role the shield of your enamel plays. The nerves that make up the part of the tooth you can’t see are extremely sensitive. Unfortunately, they’re also incredibly painful if their protective shield becomes damaged or eroded. Unlike an unexpected accident, however, the wearing of tooth enamel happens gradually over time and can often go undetected until more serious problems are caused when people don’t visit their dentists regularly.
What Causes Tooth Enamel Loss?
Tooth enamel loss occurs when the thin outside layer of the tooth becomes worn, often leaving the delicate surface below susceptible to decay. Although it’s an incredibly tough shell, years of exposure to acids and other influences can cause the layer to weaken or disappear completely. The following have been shown to minimize tooth enamel in some patients:
- Citrus foods
- Fruity drinks
- Foods that are high in sugar and starches
Additionally, genetics, certain medications, and some medical conditions can tooth enamel to diminish. For example, people who suffer dry mouth might not produce enough saliva naturally to battle the bacteria that can erode tooth enamel, so they often need to use special mouthwashes to help keep their mouths moist.
How to Prevent Tooth Enamel Loss
To prevent tooth enamel loss, it’s important to pay attention to your overall dental and physical health. These elements are correlated.
- Avoid super acidic foods and drinks (including coffee, wine, and citrus fruits);
- Always brush, floss, and rinse after eating, especially if you do consume acidic items;
- See your dentist at least every six months for professional cleanings and exams;
- Drink a lot of water throughout the day to enhance the moisture levels in your mouth.
Have you suffered tooth enamel loss? If so, it’s important to see a dental professional as soon as possible. Dr. Andy Tang, D.D.S. has proudly been serving the patients of Long Beach, CA for nearly two decades. Schedule an appointment with our team so we can help you enjoy your smile again!