Tooth enamel is the coating around our teeth that makes them strong. In fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the entire body and is made of 96 percent mineral.1 Although tooth enamel is extremely hard and resistant to damage, there is no living tissue in the enamel. The body can’t regrow tooth enamel.2 Because the enamel we have can’t regenerate, it’s important to know what causes enamel erosion and how to protect your teeth against it.
What is Enamel Erosion and How Does it Happen?
Enamel erosion, which is sometimes referred to as tooth erosion, is when your tooth enamel wears away over time.3 Enamel erosion can be caused by acidic foods in our diet. Foods that are high in acidic content include citrus fruits, pickles and vinegar.3 Foods and beverages with low acidity such as milk, bread, avocadoes and bananas are much less likely to do any damage to your enamel.3
Symptoms of Enamel Erosion
A sign you may experience from enamel erosion is discoloration, when teeth begin to appear more yellow. Another symptom of enamel erosion is sensitivity to different temperatures and sweet foods.3
If you are starting to experience early symptoms of enamel erosion, talk to your dentist for the best way to prevent further damage.
Prevention and Treatment Methods
Although enamel cannot regenerate on its own, there are still ways to prevent enamel erosion.
Be mindful of what foods and beverages are highly acidic and how you’re consuming them. Although highly acidic foods can damage your enamel, many fruits and vegetables that are high in acidity are beneficial to your health and should not be taken out of your diet. If you consume highly acidic foods or beverages, be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.3
When drinking highly acidic beverages, try using a straw to minimize contact between the teeth and acid.3
Use a toothpaste like Pronamel, which delivers fluoride and minerals in saliva into the enamel to help strengthen acid-weakened enamel.
Chew on some sugar-free gum to boost saliva flow. Saliva helps strengthen the teeth with important minerals.3 Alternatively, you can drink water frequently throughout the day to boost moisture and wash away acids.