You may not be able to see them, but your teeth are made up of multiple layers that are important for your stable, healthy smile. The visible layer is the tooth enamel — which is perhaps the most vulnerable to preventable issues. Unlike other bones in your body, tooth enamel will not regenerate after it is lost, so it is very important to take care of it from the get-go. Below, learn more about this layer and how you can protect it from problems to keep your smile healthy for life.
What Is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. It is white, though the shade varies from person to person — some people naturally have very bright enamel, while others’ may be a bit darker. It is the hardest substance in the human body, which helps you eat a balanced nutritious diet and allows you to speak clearly.
How Tooth Enamel Protects Your Teeth
The teeth are made up of four layers in total, and the ones beneath the hard outer layer of enamel are softer and sensitive to outside stimuli. Tooth enamel protects these layers, preventing sensitivity to heat and cold and, more importantly, protecting you against tooth decay.
How Tooth Enamel Can Disappear
Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can still erode (wear away) and leave your smile vulnerable to sensitivity and tooth loss. This can occur for a number of reasons, including the following:
- Brushing the teeth too aggressively or using a hard bristled brush and abrasive toothpaste
- As a result of teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism)
- As a side effect of certain medications
- Over time as a result of age
- Frequently eating sugary or acidic foods
- Hard or excessively crunchy foods that cause the teeth to chip
Protecting Your Smile
The best way to protect your teeth and keep your smile healthy is to perform excellent hygiene regularly, brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day and flossing daily, as well as visiting your dentist at least every six months for a checkup and cleaning. During these routine visits, your dentist can talk to you about whether or not you need to take any additional steps to keep your unique smile healthy and strong for life. No matter what your needs are, prevention is always key!
Meet the Practice
Dr. Todd Canatella and Dr. Rachel Neumeyer offer excellent dental care for patients of all ages. From basic checkups and cleanings to complex restorative treatments, they truly do it all. To learn more about tooth anatomy or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to contact the office by calling (504) 282-0700.