Tooth enamel loss is a gradual process that weakens the teeth. There are ways to protect and strengthen enamel, but if you’re wondering how to restore tooth enamel, then the answer isn’t quite so simple. Keep reading to learn how enamel works, whether it can grow back, and how to prevent erosion in the first place.
Enamel is a thin outer shell that covers the tooth crown. This protective layer is the hardest tissue in the human body. Tooth enamel protects the teeth from the impact of daily activities such as biting, chewing, crunching and grinding. Though it’s a very hard material, enamel can wear away, chip or break. When the enamel becomes weak, your teeth are more vulnerable to dental decay and fracturing, which can eventually result in tooth loss.
One of the ways that enamel can wear away over time is due to the presence of plaque on the teeth.
Plaque is a sticky film comprised of bacteria, food particles and saliva. It can accumulate between the teeth, around cavity fillings, and along the gum line. When the plaque bacteria feeds on the sugars in the food, an acid is produced. That acid gradually eats away at the healthy minerals in the enamel, creating pits on the surface of the teeth.
When a tooth appears yellow, that’s an indicator of enamel erosion; the yellow layer of dentin beneath becomes exposed. Over time, the pits that develop in the enamel increase in size, which can lead to a tooth infection. Besides plaque, which can be controlled through regular dental hygiene and reducing sugar intake, there are other causes of tooth erosion:
Among young people ages 18 to 30, tooth erosion is strongly correlated with dietary habits such as acidic beverage consumption.
The human body’s capacity to restore itself is amazing. Cut nails and hair grow back, and broken bones will self-repair. However, tooth enamel cannot grow back due to the fact that it is not a living tissue. It can’t be naturally regenerated or even artificially re-grown.
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However, some dental products help to restore tooth enamel, just not in the way you might imagine. While the enamel can’t grow back, it can be remineralized with special tooth repair kits. Certain toothpastes and dental products push calcium and phosphates back into the teeth and harden the enamel. Fluoride plays a powerful role by capturing the calcium and phosphates that acids draw out of the teeth.
If you’re suffering from dental caries, your dentist can add a sealant that bonds to the enamel. This extra layer of protection isn’t a perfect fix, but it acts as an enamel substitute that can last for many years.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of tooth enamel erosion, then it’s time for a trip to the dentist! Your Penn Dental Family Practice dentist will examine your teeth to determine the extent of the damage and provide recommendations on enamel protection. Besides receiving individualized attention from the dentist, the visit will help to prevent or diagnose cavities that have formed. Get a head start on tooth erosion before it’s too late. Restoring tooth enamel is not possible; however, it can be strengthened and managed.
To make your appointment at Penn Dental Family Practice, please call our offices at 215-898-7337 today!