What is Tooth Enamel, and How Can You Protect It?

In this article, we explain what enamel is and give some expert tips on how to protect it.

Man pouring mouthwash

Your teeth are covered in a hard outer coating called enamel, and there’s a reason why it’s known as the hardest substance in the human body. Enamel is composed of calcium phosphate and other minerals that give it a crystalline structure. The result is an ultra-hard shell that protects your teeth from everyday wear and tear while also absorbing damage from extreme temperatures and offering resistance to acids, bacteria, and sugary substances. Enamel is what is whitened when you come in for professional teeth whitening.

What is enamel?

Enamel, the hard outermost layer of your teeth, is constantly under assault. Your morning coffee habit, nightly glass of wine, and daily tooth brushing can all work to soften it. This is because, unlike bones or skin tissues that can repair themselves when they are damaged, enamel cannot be repaired. The good news is that you can take steps to strengthen weakened enamel and prevent further damage from occurring.

Enamel is a translucent covering that protects the crowns of our teeth (the parts above the gum line). Enamel acts as a barrier against hot, cold, and acidic foods as well as decay-causing bacteria in our mouths. Enamel also protects exposed nerves in our teeth from irritants such as sugar or acid, so we don’t feel pain when eating or drinking sugary or acidic things.

When enamel is destroyed, it cannot repair itself. Once it is gone, it is gone! Enamel breaks down every time you eat or drink anything that has sugar in it.

Sugar is bad for your teeth, your gums, your breath, and also your overall health. When you eat or drink anything that has sugar in it, the acids in plaque attack the enamel of your teeth. You can protect yourself by avoiding sugary foods and drinks such as candy, soda pop, fruit juice, and sports drinks. Drink lots of water instead.

How brushing affects enamel

If you have weak enamel, brush your teeth often and carefully, and consider using fluoride toothpaste to help with the erosion of your enamel.

Brush at least twice a day, and make sure to floss and use an alcohol-free mouthwash. It’s also important to keep in mind that the way you brush your teeth can affect how well you protect your enamel—brushing too hard can rub some of the enamel off of your teeth.

While brushing is an important step for protecting your enamel, it’s something that you should do as part of a complete dental hygiene routine.

Here are some important brushing tips:

  • Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush (a medium or hard-bristled brush can be too rough on already damaged enamel).
  • Use dental floss and an anti-cavity mouthwash.
  • It’s worth taking the time to get your brushing routine right, as protecting your enamel is good not only for your dental health but for your physical appearance as well!

Why protect enamel

Enamel is your teeth’s best defense against daily wear and tear, and gives your teeth strength.

It’s important to protect your enamel because it helps maintain the health of your teeth and gums. The enamel on your teeth protects the rest of your mouth from harmful bacteria in food (and protects those foods from harmful bacteria in your mouth). As long as you take care of it, it will take care of you by assisting with biting, chewing, and eating food. Contact us for an appointment for an exam and cleaning. We’re happy to answer any questions.

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