When we’re growing up, cavities are the big, bad mouth “monster” that we’re taught to avoid by brushing and flossing daily. It’s not until we’re older that another threat to our oral health rears its ugly head. That monster goes by the name of tooth enamel loss or enamel erosion.
The health of your mouth depends on the health of your tooth enamel. This thin, outer layer that covers your teeth is essential for keeping tooth decay at bay and protecting the sensitive inner part of your tooth known as dentin
When your enamel starts to weaken or wear away, your dentin can become exposed, leading to a range of issues including extreme sensitivity. Some of the signs of enamel erosion are:
Although once your enamel is gone, it’s gone for good, there are treatments that can strengthen weakened enamel and prevent further damage from occurring. These include tooth bonding and the use of crowns and veneers.
How to Prevent Enamel Loss
The best line of defense against enamel loss is to prevent it from happening in the first place. A good oral hygiene routine goes a long way to protecting and preserving your enamel so that it lasts throughout your life. Brushing twice daily and flossing at least three to four times a week is a good place to start.
It also matters when and how you brush your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush as a stiff one can actually contribute to enamel erosion by wearing away the surface of your teeth. You should also wait about 30 minutes after consuming highly acidic food or beverage since they soften the enamel. If you brush right after eating or drinking, before the enamel has had time to re-harden, you can lose some of your enamel.
Regular visits to the dentist are another crucial part of maintaining your oral health. Dentists can be an authority to help you with access to treatments such as crowns, dental implants, fillings, veneers, teeth whitening, and more. Make sure to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined every six months so that your dentist can stay current on the state of your teeth and the condition of your enamel. If any problems do arise, they can be detected and corrected early on, before they have the chance to develop into more serious issues.