How to deal with damaged enamel
Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities.1 By maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you’re able to enjoy the foods and drinks that you like, while avoiding potential damage to your teeth like decay or gum disease.2 Tooth decay can cause painful dental problems that may require dental work. But what is tooth decay and how can it be prevented? Tooth decay begins as damage to a tooth’s outer surface, also known as the enamel, the hard, outer coating of the tooth.2 If not treated, it can cause pain, infection, or tooth loss.2 Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth makes acids that erode the enamel, and, if not treated, can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.3 Luckily, there are ways to help protect your enamel. Learn more about the causes and symptoms of damaged tooth enamel, as well as protection options.
The causes of damaged enamel
Your tooth enamel can be damaged as a result of tooth decay.1 Tooth decay is one of the world's most common health problems.1 When you eat food or drink beverages that contain a lot of sugar or starch, bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and starches, producing acid that can lead to tooth decay.1 If you do not brush and clean in-between your teeth, plaque can build up and may lead to tooth decay or tartar build up which can lead to gum problems.1
Acid erosion can also cause damaged tooth enamel.4 Erosion refers to the chemical process characterized by acid dissolution of tooth enamel.4 Frequent consumption of soft drinks, especially carbonated sodas, are a common cause of acid erosion.4 Eating acidic snacks and desserts or drinking acidic fruit juice may also increase the risk for erosion.4 Some health conditions like GERD or bulimia may also increase your risk of acid erosion.4
Common symptoms of damaged enamel
If you think your enamel has been damaged due to tooth decay, make sure to watch out for symptoms and talk to your dentist. Symptoms of damaged enamel include:
- Coloration of teeth – One obvious symptom you may notice once your enamel has been damaged is a change in the color of your teeth. You may experience grey, brown, or black spots on your teeth as your enamel begins to erode.3
- Tooth sensitivity – You may notice a greater sensitivity to foods and drinks that are too hot or cold, as later stages of tooth enamel loss can cause more sensitivity.3
- Toothache and pain – With damaged enamel can come acute or more severe pain, depending on how much the enamel has eroded.3
Protection options against damaged tooth enamel
Although damaged tooth enamel can’t be rebuilt, there are several steps you can take to prevent further enamel loss from acid erosion or tooth decay.
How to Prevent Acid Erosion
Eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages is one of the main causes of dietary acid erosion.5 Following these best practices can help you prevent acid erosion.5
- Wait an hour after eating acidic foods before your brush your teeth to give your saliva a chance to naturally wash away acids.
- Limit or avoid acidic beverages like carbonated sodas or fruit juices. When drinking these beverages, use a straw and do not swish or hold it in your mouth before swallowing.
- Rinse your mouth with water or drink milk after acidic meals or beverages.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Like acid erosion, tooth decay can often be prevented. Keep these tips in mind if you’re concerned about tooth decay.3
- Incorporate fluoride into your lifestyle by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, drinking tap water with fluoride, or using fluoride mouth rinse.
- Practice good oral health by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly flossing your teeth
- Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugars and starches. Eat nutritious, balanced meals.
- Do not use tobacco products and consider quitting if you currently use tobacco.
- See a dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings.
Using Pronamel toothpaste can help improve your overall oral hygiene. Pronamel has an optimized-fluoride formulation that helps to strengthen teeth and can prevent both decay and erosion. Pronamel offers protection against the effects of enamel erosion from acidic foods and actively helps replenish acid-weakened enamel. Choose from a variety of Pronamel toothpastes, including Pronamel Intensive Enamel Repair Clean Mint, Pronamel Intensive Enamel Repair Extra Fresh, and more.
It is important to take care of your teeth, especially since the effects of not taking care of your teeth can lead to damaged enamel, which in turn can cause a range of more serious issues. While damaged tooth enamel may be alarming, there are steps you can take to help protect against damaged enamel and prevent further damage. Small changes in your diet, like avoiding acidic foods and beverages, as well as a proper oral hygiene routine can go a long way in making sure you prevent further damage to your teeth enamel. If you begin to notice extreme pain in your teeth or gums, contact your dentist for immediate assistance so they can provide you with the proper treatment.
- Cavities/Tooth Decay. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-20352892. Accessed on 6/17/2021.
- Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/taking-care-your-teeth-and-mouth. Accessed on 6/17/2021.
- Tooth Decay. https://medlineplus.gov/toothdecay.html. Accessed on 6/17/2021.
- Dental erosion. https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/dental-erosion. Accessed 3/2/2022.
- Erosion: What You Eat and Drink Can Impact Teeth. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/dietary-acids-and-your-teeth. Accessed 3/2/2022.