Teeth are comprised of four different parts- the enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp. The innermost chamber is the pulp, which consists of the nerves and blood vessels and is the only soft tissue in the tooth. The other three are hard tissues, with the tooth enamel forming the outermost layer. When tooth enamel is eroded by acids produced by bacteria in your mouth, the holes in your enamel will make it unable to protect your teeth. If left untreated, the bacteria will eventually enter the main structure, or dentin, of the tooth, causing a cavity.
What is Enamel?
Enamel is a layer of mineral crystals that surrounds your teeth. It is the second most resilient material on Earth, after diamonds, and is even stronger than your bones. Enamel contains some of the same minerals as bones, like phosphate and calcium. However, the proteins that make enamel will stretch those minerals longer than bones do, making it stronger.
The Plaque Problem
The main threat to tooth enamel—plaque—is constantly accumulating on your teeth. Plaque is a film of bacteria, some of produce acids that weaken and destroy tooth enamel. To create acid, oral bacteria consume and metabolize nutrients (mainly sugar, but also other carbohydrates). Foods and beverages rich in acids and sugar greatly increase your risk of enamel erosion, as does excessive plaque buildup, which can be influenced by;
- Binging on soda, fruit juices, cookies, candy, ice cream, and other sugar-rich substances that feed bacteria.
- Poor hygiene, which allows the plaque to remain on your teeth to produce more acid and weaken enamel faster.
- Worn tooth fillings that have begun to break down, and can allow for greater bacteria buildup.
How to Protect Your Enamel
The good news is that you can protect your tooth enamel. By brushing at least twice a day and flossing once, you can inhibit plaque from building up too much on your teeth. In addition, attending your regular dental checkup will also allow the dentist to check on your teeth and provide a more comprehensive cleaning.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.