You may not know much about tooth enamel, but today we’re here to tell you that it’s actually a very important part of your oral health. Here are five facts about tooth enamel we think you should know.
- It’s the hardest substance in the body.
Enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth. Just like a shin guard protects an athlete’s legs from getting kicked by a soccer cleat, enamel protects your teeth from a sticky, bacteria-filled film called plaque. Made up mostly of the mineral hydroxyapatite, enamel is incredibly important in protecting your teeth from harmful germs and bacteria. Although it’s the hardest substance in your body, enamel can begin to wear down, which leaves your teeth unprotected and vulnerable to decay.
- It’s semi-translucent.
Because enamel is semi-translucent, it is only partially responsible for the color of your teeth. Enamel varies in color, from light gray to a faint yellow.
- It is your first line of defense against cavities.
You can think of enamel as your tooth’s outer protective layer. When enamel gets worn down because of plaque, your teeth no longer have that protection. Without enamel, bacteria slowly travel deeper into the tooth which is when a cavity occurs and can only be fixed with a dental filling.
- It helps prevent tooth sensitivity.
Noticing that your teeth are especially sensitive when eating very hot or very cold foods can be an indicator that your enamel is wearing down. Without enamel, the dentin layer of your tooth is exposed, and this layer is softer and more sensitive.
- It is important to protect and preserve.
Enamel begins to erode when plaque builds up on teeth. One of the main ways you can protect the enamel on your teeth is by avoiding certain acidic foods and drinks that are more likely to produce plaque, such as sugary sodas, sticky candy, and sweet alcoholic beverages. Another way to protect and preserve the enamel on your teeth is by encouraging saliva production. Saliva is incredibly important for your enamel because it restores the minerals in your teeth. You can encourage saliva production by eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, drinking plenty of water, and chewing sugar-free gum.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your teeth are covered by this hard, protective layer is by visiting your dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Only a dental professional will be able to verify if your teeth are protected by enamel or if there are signs of enamel wear or decay. Make an appointment with us today at Cornerstone Family Dentistry and let us help you have the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve!