Tooth enamel is the hardest and outermost layer of your tooth. Without tooth enamel, dentin, the layer beneath, is exposed. Dentin exposure can lead teeth to have a more yellow appearance. It can also increase your risk for both tooth sensitivity and cavities.
While enamel is a necessary component of healthy teeth, it can be worn away over time. There are several reasons tooth enamel can erode and lead to sensitive or discolored teeth—here are the top causes you should know about.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Not taking care of your teeth is one of the biggest reasons tooth enamel can wear away over time. When you skip brushing your teeth, plaque, a mixture of bacteria, food particles, and saliva, builds up on teeth.
Plaque can damage tooth enamel when not removed, leading to enamel erosion . Plaque can also build up in the spaces between teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach, making flossing an integral part of protecting your tooth enamel along with regular teeth brushing.
Brushing your teeth too harshly can lead your tooth enamel to wear away over time. Using a stiff-bristled toothbrush can increase damage to your teeth and gums, especially if you’re brushing immediately after a meal.
When cleaning your teeth, always use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your tooth enamel, whether you choose a manual toothbrush or an electric one. The American Dental Association also recommends waiting a minimum of 60 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything other than water .
If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, you may be more at risk to lose your tooth enamel over time. Traces of the acids from your stomach used for digesting food can end up in your mouth, which can cause an acidic environment that can wear away tooth damage.
Managing your acid reflux disease can reduce your risk for tooth enamel damage . Your dentist can also help you review more techniques to help you protect your teeth, such as chewing sugarless gum and drinking more water.
A Diet High in Sugar
Eating a diet high in sugar, whether it’s from baked goods, candy, or soda, triggers oral bacteria to produce acids that can attack tooth enamel. Combined with other risk factors such as poor oral hygiene, aggressive teeth brushing, and acid reflux, you have a higher risk for tooth enamel damage when consuming sugar frequently. Reducing your sugar intake can help protect your tooth enamel and reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease .
How Healthy Is Your Tooth Enamel?
Once tooth enamel has worn away, it can’t be replaced. Protecting your tooth enamel is essential for preventing tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and discolored teeth. Do you know how healthy your tooth enamel is? Find out by contacting your local dentist to book a checkup today!