6 Things That Can Affect Your Tooth Enamel
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6 Things That Can Affect Your Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the outermost and toughest part of the tooth. It’s also the hardest tissue in your body. The enamel protects the tooth’s inner structures, including the dentin and pulp (the innermost chamber that hosts the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves). Strong and healthy enamel is essential to protect the tooth from damage from daily use, like biting, chewing, and grinding food. It protects the tooth from painful temperatures, bacteria, and acidic attacks.

While tough, the enamel can wear down, crack, or chip. Common signs that your enamel is damaged include:

  • Sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Persistent tooth pain or pain when biting down
  • Discolouration on a single tooth
  • Visible chips, breaks, and cracks

Visit our New Westminster dental clinic for these or other dental problems. A damaged or eroded enamel makes your tooth vulnerable to fractures and decay.

Factors that Damage Your Enamel

Avoid these six things to keep your teeth healthy:

  • Certain foods

While healthy and nutritious, some foods can compromise your dental health. For instance, acidic items like lemons, grapefruit, limes, oranges, and apple cider vinegar can erode your tooth enamel when consumed regularly. Similarly, sugary, sticky, dried fruits and chewy items can encourage bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, increasing your risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay.

Hard items like raw nuts and ice can cause your enamel to chip, crack, or break. Acidic and highly pigmented items like sodas, coffee, tea, wine, and sauces can cause your teeth to look dull, yellowish, or discolored.

  • Bruxism

Bruxism is a common problem where one grinds their teeth and clenches their jaw unconsciously, especially during sleep. Unfortunately, grinding your teeth back and forth significantly wears down your enamel and makes your teeth susceptible to decay and fractures. If you have bruxism, your dentist can design a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth.

  • Bad habits

Certain habits like chewing on pens, cutting nails, and opening packages can cause your tooth to chip, crack, or break. For the sake of your teeth, avoid using your teeth as a tool.

  • Excessive over-whitening

Years of consuming coloured and acidic items like coffee, tea, sodas, wine, and sauces can make your teeth appear darker and stained. While tooth whitening is a safe and effective way to brighten your smile, doing it too often can wear down your enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to decay and fractures. Avoid staining habits to keep your teeth brighter and prevent the need for regular teeth whitening.

  • Smoking and alcohol consumption

Tobacco is the number one cause of stubborn teeth stains. Smoking compromises both your oral and overall health. It can increase your risk of gum disease, bad breath, and certain cancers. Excessive alcohol use can increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. The risk is higher when you both smoke and abuse alcohol. It’s better to limit or avoid tobacco and alcohol for the sake of your overall health.

  • Certain medications

Some medications can cause a dry mouth, leading to bacteria and acids buildup in the mouth, increasing your risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay. For instance, medicines used to treat diabetes and Alzheimer’s can cause dry mouth. You can speak with your doctor if your medications are affecting your mouth.

Tips for Preventing Enamel Damage

Below are practical tips to protect your teeth and prevent enamel damage:

  • Maintain excellent oral care hygiene. Brush at least twice daily using a quality and soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss daily
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste or have a regular fluoride treatment
  • Avoid or limit hard, chewy, and staining food items
  • Avoid or limit acidic and sugary food items. If you consume these items, rinse your mouth with clear water.
  • Use a straw when drinking acidic and highly pigmented items
  • Avoid regular snacking, especially on sugary and acidic items
  • Chew sugarless gum between meals
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants
  • Get treatment for existing oral and health conditions like gum disease, diabetes, bruxism, GERD, and TMJ.
  • Visit your dentist for routine dental checkups.

Schedule an appointment today

Do you need more information about proper dental care hygiene and habits? Or are you looking for dental treatments? Contact Asante Dental Centre to speak with our dentist in New Westminster.

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