We always think that it is enamel that is responsible for the white shiny luster in our teeth however the fact is that the color of teeth is because of Dentin. Contrary to this misconception Enamel simply a translucent substance but this is the one that gets stained. Drinking too much tea, coffee or cola and smoking of cigarettes causes the stains. Visiting your dentist regularly ensures that you can get the shine back.
What is the role of Enamel?
To put it in simple terms – It is the shield. It has an important role in protecting your teeth from daily habits such as Chewing, Biting, Crunching and Grinding. Despite being the hardest tissue it has the tendency to crack and chip. You will also be surprised to know that it has the tendency to protect your teeth from fluctuating temperatures. This is why when it gets worn out we have a Dental Condition called as Tooth Sensitivity. If you have a broken your bone you can be rest assured that it will restore on its own. But once teeth are chipped or broken.
Reason for Erosion
Just like heavy rainfall erodes the land similarly consumption of acidic drinks is the major contributor of Enamel erosion. But that is not all as you can see that the following are also contributors towards this process:
a. Over consumption of soft drinks.
b. Over consumption of fruit drinks.
c. Less salivary flow causing Dry Mouth
e. Sometimes it is inherited
Apart from the above mentioned reasons there are other factors as well which are termed as Environmental Factors of Enamel Erosion:
• Attrition: Caused primarily by teeth grinding.
• Abrasion: Caused when you brush too hard. Always remember you have to brush your teeth and not fight with them.
• Abfraction: Caused by fractures in your teeth. So next time when you think of opening a beer bottle or try to eat your nail keep this in mind that your enamel is facing the brunt.
• Corrosion: Consumption of acidic substances corrodes and eventually erodes our enamel.
It has also been found out that frequent vomiting also erodes the enamel because when you vomit an acid is released which helps in this process. It is very important for us to keep our mouth moist and we need to ensure that there is constant flow of saliva. Saliva helps in keeping mouth healthy and teeth strong. It covers the enamel with calcium which makes it strong.
Is plaque responsible for erosion?
Yes it does. But how do we do it? For that let us understand what plaque is. Plaque is a sticky film which is made out of saliva, food particles, bacteria and many other substances. It is one incorrigible condition which is formed between the teeth and also penetrates the tiny holes and pits in molars. Many a times the bacteria which are present in plaque changes the food starch into acid and when this happens it attacks the enamel.
Signs of Enamel Erosion
This is the most important part as it will help you decide to take action. Pay attention to these signs:
a. Tooth Sensitivity: As the layer deteriorates, it exposes nerves and when we consume something hot or cold we feel the pain.
b. Discolored Tooth: Once the enamel starts to erode the dentin gets exposed and reveals the yellow tinge.
c. Chipped and Cracked Teeth: The edge of your teeth becomes rough and irregular.
You have to be extremely cautious if you see any symptoms as above because when enamel erodes our teeth becomes more prone to cavities or Tooth decay.
How to avoid Enamel Erosion?
The best way to avoid enamel erosion is by keeping your mouth healthy. Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing will help prevent plaque formation. Apart from this you can also follow the below mentioned techniques:
a. Avoid acidic food consumption.
b. When drinking soft drinks use a straw.
c. Do not eat too much snacks such as chips.
d. After eating your meals do not drink tea or smoke a cigarette instead opt for sugar-free chewing gum.
e. Drink water regularly to keep your mouth hydrated so as to avoid dry mouth.
f. Use Fluoride based toothpaste.
These simple techniques help in attaining a healthy mouth which will eventually help in giving you healthy teeth. But it all goes in vain if you do not follow the basic hygiene of Brushing, Flossing, using a mouthwash and visiting your dentist time and again.