Protecting enamel

Q. What is tooth enamel and can it be restored if it gets damaged?

A. Basically, tooth enamel is the natural outer covering of the crown of a tooth which is the hardest natural substance in the human body. It is what you see when you see your smile or when someone else smiles at you and is composed of minerals.

While it is strong it is also relatively thin, too, with 1.5mm being its thickest dimension. Tooth enamel is extremely crucial towards ensuring that your teeth do not decay. Therefore, it is important to do everything possible to prevent your tooth enamel from eroding.

It creates a strong barrier that protects the inner layers of your teeth from the harmful effects of acids and plaque. Tooth enamel also protects the sensitive inner layers of your teeth from foods and drinks that are hot or cold.

The main cause of loss of tooth enamel is acid – it likes to eat away at the enamel, which erodes it over time. This can leave the tooth extremely exposed and vulnerable when it’s lacking its main source of protection. Acid is produced in your mouth in a number of ways, with the most common sources coming from the food that we eat. But it isn’t limited to that.

Other ways that acid is produced in the mouth include dry mouth, teeth grinding, gastrointestinal tract issues, acidic medicines, low production of saliva and even your genetic make-up. Unfortunately, unlike your bones, tooth enamel does not contain any living cells so it cannot be regenerated.

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