You’ve been experiencing some dental sensitivity when sipping your morning cup of coffee or hot tea, so you decided to visit the dentist. This is when you learn that your enamel has started to wear down and that is what has been causing your dental pain. How did it wear down? Can it be repaired? Keep reading to find out what can cause enamel wear and what can be done to repair it.
What is Enamel Erosion?
Enamel is the strongest tissue in your body, and it helps to protect your teeth from damage while you bite, crunch and chew. It also protects your tooth from bacteria, plaque and extreme temperatures and gives your teeth their white, shiny appearance. There are a few culprits that can lead to the loss or weakening of enamel. Gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, acid from the bacteria on your teeth and other factors like bruxism (the grinding or clenching of teeth while awake or asleep) can lead to enamel loss.
Another problem that can damage your enamel is simply brushing too hard. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and pressing down while brushing can lead to you actually brushing away your enamel and exposing the yellow dentin beneath, which causes tooth sensitivity.
What Keeps Enamel Strong?
One of the best ways to protect your enamel is having a great dental care routine. The ADA calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter,” so brushing for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day and using a fluoride mouthwash can provide extra protection for your teeth. Increasing your consumption of calcium-rich foods and drinks like leafy greens, broccoli and dairy products can help strengthen both your enamel and your bones. If you tend to clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, wearing a dental guard at night can minimize the effects.
Can Enamel Be Restored?
If your enamel has been weakened, your dentist can help remineralize it with a fluoride treatment. Increasing the amount of calcium in your diet and using fluoride dental care products can also help restore weakened enamel. However, once your enamel is gone, it cannot be rebuilt. But there are ways that your dentist can help minimize the dental sensitivity you may be feeling; dental bonding, veneers and dental crowns can all provide extra protection for your teeth. You may also consider adding desensitizing toothpaste to your dental care routine. With frequent use, it can help to block pain signals to your dental nerve, providing relief.
Enamel is the hardest material in your body, but that does not mean it is indestructible. Practicing a proper dental care routine, limiting your sugar intake and visiting your dentist regularly can all help keep your enamel in great shape.
About the Author
Dr. Renee Corbitt takes pride in helping every patient from ages 1 to 92 to achieve their brightest, healthiest smile. Since achieving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School, Dr. Corbitt has attended countless continuing education courses and seminars to stay abreast of the latest concepts, techniques and technology as dentistry continues to evolve. If you believe you have enamel wear and are looking for help to reduce your dental sensitivity, contact the office at (817) 294-8821 or visit the website to schedule an appointment today.