As we age, our teeth are more susceptible to enamel erosion and deterioration. This can lead to a number of oral health concerns. But it isn’t hopeless. Habits and lifestyle greatly contribute to the long-term health of your teeth. You can take control of your oral health and reverse the process of tooth damage by staying on top of your dental routine.
What Makes Enamel Deteriorate?
Enamel is the outermost layer of our teeth. Its pearly white, durable appearance gives teeth their luster. Unfortunately, our enamel begins to weaken as we age and break down from a lifetime of wear and tear. This is called demineralization. Demineralization can be accelerated by poor oral hygiene, tobacco products, an unhealthy diet, and chronic dry mouth.
The Effects of Weakened Enamel
Weakened enamel leads to decay, which is a precursor to a cavity. Once the damage reaches the inner layers of the tooth, the dentin and pulp, the damage is irreversible and you’ll need a filling to repair your tooth. But enamel erosion doesn’t just lead to cavities, it also leads to tooth discoloration and sensitivity. Because the dentin is darker than the enamel, teeth will look dingy as enamel begins to erode. Additionally, with less protection from the enamel, your tooth’s sensitive nerve is more likely to become irritated by hot, cold, sour, and sugary foods and beverages.
What You Can Do To Reverse Enamel Erosion
Mineralization is the process of reversing enamel erosion. This means that necessary minerals are strengthening and healing the teeth. Fluoride, calcium, and phosphorus play a principal role in mineralization. These minerals replenish the crystalline mineral structure of weakened teeth. We recommend that our patients use a fluoride-containing toothpaste, including kids. While children under three years old only need to use a smear the size of a grain of rice, children between three and six can use a pea-sized amount. Other ways to reverse enamel erosion include: drinking plenty of fluoridated tap water to stay hydrated; brushing and flossing daily; and eating a balanced diet.
Our Team Can Help Prevent & Reverse Enamel Damage
Regularly-scheduled dental visits are a necessary part of protecting enamel from damage. During your visit, we’ll remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and gumline. Plaque and tartar are the bacterial substances that lead to the breakdown of your enamel. They accumulate by feeding upon your dietary sugar. Although brushing and flossing are extremely important, our professional-grade tools are the only way to safely and thoroughly remove tartar, which is hardened plaque. We can also help reverse the signs of enamel deterioration through in-office fluoride treatments. Ask us about this at your next checkup.
Schedule Your Next Visit to Alder Trails Dental!
Have you noticed any discoloration, sensitivity, or tooth pain? If you want additional help strengthening our enamel, please call us. We’ll schedule an appointment to get you on the right track to mineralization and healing.