What is tooth enamel?

Tooth enamel is just part of what makes up a tooth. It’s the part that acts as a ‘shield’ making the tooth hard wearing and also makes it white. The enamel on our teeth is the hardest mineral in our bodies, even harder than our bones.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible, as all too often it gets decayed and fillings are necessary.

Enamel, actually forms a relatively thick layer around the tooth, which is on average around 2.5mm thick. Over time however, it can decay and that’s why taking good care of your teeth ensures that the enamel layer remains intact, protecting your teeth from bacteria, infection and sensitivity.  When the enamel starts to break down, most people start to complain of pain and sensitivity. Taking care of tooth enamel helps to keep your teeth in the best condition, because it is the first line of defense.

When the enamel breaks down, often a symptom people report is that they start to become sensitive to hot and cold, air and the likes. Tooth decay happens quite often, and when it does, a dentist can repair the damage using an amalgam filling which protects the inner dentine of the tooth and minimizes the risk of more decay. That’s why visiting a dentist is so important in ensuring the health and longevity of your teeth.

Today, there are countless products on the market that aim to help protect and give people a healthy smile. Tooth whitening products are used to remove stains on enamel and make the teeth appear both brighter and whiter. Care must be taken however, as many cheaper whitening kits can be dangerous to tooth enamel due to the fact they can be highly acidic.

Protecting your enamel is the best way to protect your teeth. Regular brushing, flossing and the use of a good mouthwash ensure that this super-hard mineral stays where it should. When plaque and tartar form, they excrete acids that can break down enamel really quickly.

Teeth contain four main substances; – enamel, dentine and dental pulp that’s made up of tissues and the root of your tooth. Dentine protects the pulp and supports the tooth’s enamel. When enamel decays, dentine decays at a much faster rate and a dental cavity forms. When this happens, it’ll eventually get so deep that it invades the pulp, and the bacteria will work its way down to the root causing a major infection. This is what happens when you get a dental abscess.

Sadly, enamel does not regenerate. Once it’s decayed, it’s gone forever. Thankfully – fluoride can make the enamel stronger and thus last for longer. Normally applied by a dentist, you can also find it in toothpaste and sometimes, water supplies. By using fluoride on your teeth, they are stronger and also healthier looking.

Tooth enamel really is quite an amazing substance. Sadly thanks to high sugar diets and fast foods, it’s decaying quicker than ever before and as a result levels of tooth decay in the population have never been higher.

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