Could Lost Enamel Contribute to Weakened Teeth and Gums?

Discover the Truth About Tooth Enamel

When you stop and think about the bones in your body, you don’t usually think of those in your mouth. But did you know that teeth are made up of virtually the same material as your bones? However, unlike your bones, the enamel on your teeth has no living tissues in it, which means it cannot rebuild over time.

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Tooth enamel helps to protect the fragile nerves within your teeth as well as guard against bacteria and other harmful things in the mouth. Thankfully, with a healthy diet and regular dental care, you can help to protect and preserve the health of your teeth and gums.

What Are Teeth Made Of?

Calcium phosphate is the mineral that makes up both your bones and your teeth. More specifically, a material called hydroxylapatite. Tooth enamel is the furthermost layer of your teeth, and it is considered the hardest mineral substance in your body. It protects the bone-like structure underneath your tooth is known as dentin. This area is much more susceptible to developing cavities and other ailments caused by harmful bacteria.

What Can Happen When You Lose Tooth Enamel?

At the core of your tooth is a soft pulp, which connects to all the living tissue within the mouth, such as the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. As your dental enamel wears down, the areas underneath risk exposure to things can affect your oral health. You may begin to see or experience symptoms such as:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Yellowing or discoloration
  • Rough or uneven edges
  • Smooth, shiny spots
  • Increased tooth decay
  • Chips, cracks, or fractures

Causes and Types of Enamel Damage

Tooth damage, like loss of enamel, can happen due to many things, like environmental causes, excessive acids, dry mouth, or medications.

Erosion

The main cause of enamel erosion is exposure to typically dietary, as harmful acids are present in so many everyday items we consume. Patients who experience excessive vomiting or acid reflux can also have an elevated amount of acid exposure to their enamel. Certain foods and drinks are well known for their high amount of acid and their ability to wear down at your teeth. Over time, this can mean weaker teeth and even receding gums. Some things that can affect your dental enamel are:

  • Sodas. Studies prove that there is a correlation between tooth decay and extended soda drinking. Even diet sodas can wear down your dental enamel, so think about switching out the cola for water!
  • Fruit waters and flavored juices.While you might think these are a safe alternative, the truth is the sugar in those drinks can severely affect the health of your teeth.
  • Junk foods. Sugar hurts the enamel of your teeth, so snacks high in sugars – especially those that stick to your teeth – can cause decay and cavities.
  • Snacks high in carbohydrates. Starchy foods like chips, pretzels, crackers, bread, and similar snacks break down into simple sugars, which can attract bacteria and wear down at teeth and gums.
  • Citrus fruits and juices. Lemonade may be delicious, but it can be breaking down at your dental enamel. Try to avoid foods and drinks with lots of citruses, as the acid is tough on teeth.

If you must enjoy a sugary soda, stick a straw in it! Using a straw can direct the harmful acids away from your teeth, which can reduce the damage it has on your mouth.

Abrasion

Abrasion occurs when something rough rubs against the surface of your teeth. With many patients, this often occurs by accident from brushing incorrectly, scraping while removing dentures, or chewing on hard objects. A known culprit of this is fingernail biting!

Attrition

In some cases, the cause of wear on your enamels is due to an issue in your mouth. Tooth-to-tooth friction caused by grinding, also known as bruxism, can have a negative impact on your dental enamel.

Abfraction

This little-known medical term refers to the loss of tooth structure, due to factors unrelated to tooth decay. In other words, enamel damage due to cracks or chips in the tooth due to bending or flexing. As a result, further wear or more serious damage can occur.

Prevent Enamel Erosion and Protect Your Dental Health

At Acosta Dental Arts, PA, we are experts on all things dental – which means we understand that maintaining a healthy oral regimen can keep your smile bright and beautiful!

If you are experiencing cupping, see-through teeth, or significant sensitivity, your tooth enamel may be eroding. This can lead to severe complications with your oral health if left untreated! Dr. Acosta and his whole team of dedicated dental professionals offer patients personalized treatment options. Contact our office at 561-622-0301 to schedule an appointment at our North Palm Beach office!

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