Oral Health Questions: What Does Tooth Enamel Do?

Teeth enamel is easily one of the hardest substances in the body, but it is crucial for oral health. It provides a hard chewing surface that allows a person to cut and grind their food. It protects the softer, inner parts of the teeth from trauma, pressure and the elements. The enamel also acts as a barrier to nefarious mouth bacteria whose sole mission seems to be the destruction and decay of the tooth.

A large part of good oral health is making sure that the enamel remains intact. When we take care of the tooth enamel, we protect the whole mouth and save ourselves a small fortune in dental treatments. Here is some useful information about the enamel and tips on how to take care of it.

What is tooth enamel and what is it made of?

Tooth enamel is the part of the teeth that is responsible for a milky-white smile (or lack thereof). It gets its color from its primary building blocks: calcium and phosphate ions. The enamel is also made up of a tiny percentage of minerals like:

  • Fluoride
  • Magnesium
  • Strontium

The enamel encases the part of the tooth that rests above the gum line, or in other words, the crown. Because the enamel is translucent, it allows a person to see the dentin that lies just beneath it.

The enamel is supposed to come in shades of white. But it can become discolored because of stains or damage. The color of the dentin also determines the overall look of the teeth. People with extremely yellow dentin will seem to have yellowish teeth, even if their teeth have perfectly white enamel.

A day in the life of teeth enamel

Every day, a person's teeth go through countless cycles of demineralization and remineralization. It all starts with mouth bacteria that produce acids as a waste product. The acids eat away at the minerals that make up the outermost layer of the enamel. Luckily, saliva comes to the rescue. The saliva of a healthy person contains minerals that form the building blocks of the enamel. So when acids erode the enamel, the saliva supplies the teeth with building supplies to replace what was lost.

This is why it is important for a person to stock up on fluoride and other healthy minerals for their oral health. The person should also keep the mouth clean and hydrated so as to keep the acid levels in the mouth to a minimum.

Protect the enamel: it is your teeth’s first line of defense

Enamel protects our teeth and makes us look good at the same time. That is all the more reason to take extra care of our teeth. Remember, the enamel does not regenerate in the way that our bones do. So we should help it along with a nutritious, calcium-rich diet with as little refined sugar and acids as possible.

We should also observe good oral hygiene to keep harmful mouth bacteria from breaching the enamel and infecting teeth. Lastly, visit us for a dental checkup once every six months. Your teeth will thank you later.

Request an appointment here: https://kellieharrisdds.com or call Northern New Mexico Center for Cosmetic Dentistry at (575) 993-5911 for an appointment in our Taos office.

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