Tooth Enamel: Erosion and Restoration
The tooth enamel is the thin, outer layer of the tooth. It is the hardest part of the tooth and serves as a protective layer. If the enamel erodes, the tooth will lose its protection and become susceptible to infections. Let’s take a detailed look at the causes of enamel erosion and how to restore eroded enamel.
Causes of Enamel Erosion
Enamel erosion is normally caused by the following:
- Xerostomia, a condition where there is low production of saliva
- Sugar-rich and starchy foods
- Excessive consumption of soft drinks, as they have levels of citric and phosphoric acid
- Acid reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Genetics – inherited health issues
- Certain medications such as aspirin and antihistamines
- Environmental factors such as stress and friction
How to Know if You Have Enamel Erosion
It is important to understand the signs of enamel erosion so you can act as early as possible. Look out for the following:
- Increased tooth sensitivity– As the tooth’s top layer deteriorates, it leaves the nerves exposed. Consequently, you’ll feel pain when you consume something hot or cold.
- Tooth discoloration – As the enamel erodes, the dentin gets exposed, causing a yellow tinge.
- Cracked or chipped teeth– If you notice some roughness and unevenness on the edges of your teeth, it could be a sign of enamel erosion.
If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for appropriate action to be taken.
Tooth Enamel Restoration
Many people want to know whether tooth enamel can be restored. The truth is that tooth enamel can’t grow back because it is not living tissue. It cannot be regenerated naturally or be re-grown artificially.
Fortunately, some dental products can be used to restore tooth enamel through a process known as remineralization. These products inject phosphates and calcium back into the tooth, thus hardening the enamel. It’s advisable to use fluoride-based dental products, as fluoride is especially effective in capturing and retaining the phosphates and calcium that acids draw out of your teeth.
If you discover you have enamel erosion, your dentist can advise on the best tooth restoration products to use.