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Would you have guessed that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body?  Thank goodness it is because it has a very important job to do – protect the teeth from daily abuse.

Enamel covers the dentin, a part of the tooth that is not as dense as enamel.  When enamel erodes, the dentin loses some of its protection.  Then, the microscopic tubes inside the dentin allow hot, cold or sweet foods to stimulate nerves within the tooth.  As a result, you may notice that your teeth have become painfully sensitive to hot or cold foods, drinks and sweets.

How can I save my enamel?

  • Be sure to limit the number of soft and fruit drinks, as well as sour foods and candies you consume.  The high acid levels eat away enamel.
  • Keep your mouth hydrated because saliva protects against decay by neutralizing acids.
  • Acid reflux brings stomach acids up to the mouth, where the acids can erode enamel.
  • Frequent vomiting also exposes teeth to stomach acids.
  • Excessive Vitamin C can also be detrimental to teeth.

Is my enamel taking a beating?

If you have any of the symptoms below, you may want to talk to Dr. Halsema about enamel issues.

  • Teeth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Cracked edges on teeth
  • Smooth, shiny surfaces on the teeth
  • Yellowed teeth from thinned enamel
  • Dents on the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth

You can protect against enamel loss by rinsing your mouth with water after you eat acidic food; neutralize acids by having a glass of milk after dinner; chew sugar-free gum;  keep hydrated with lots of water throughout the day; brush lightly; use fluoride toothpaste and if you suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, alcoholism or bulimia, seek treatment immediately.

Next time you visit Dr. Halsema, ask her about your enamel.