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Preventing Enamel Erosion

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Chewing on pens and pencils can damage tooth enamel.

Chewing on pens and pencils can damage tooth enamel.

Tooth enamel serves many purposes. It protects teeth, provides an attractive appearance, and helps in chewing and biting. It’s also the hardest substance in the human body. But just because tooth enamel is strong and durable doesn’t mean it’s impermeable to damage. And when tooth enamel is compromised, it can’t restore itself like our skin and bones can. It’s important to protect tooth enamel in order to maintain a healthy, attractive, and comfortable smile. Here, Dr. James Oldham discusses some of the things that damage tooth enamel and how to prevent enamel erosion.

Dangers of Enamel Erosion

Enamel erosion occurs when this hard layer on the outside of teeth begins to wear away, crack, or chip. Because enamel guards the inner portion of a tooth, sensitivity can occur when this layer of protection degrades. As the darker-colored dentin underneath enamel begins to show through, teeth can appear yellowed and stained. Edges of teeth may become rough as enamel wears unevenly.

Tooth Enamel Hazards

More often than not, enamel erosion occurs because of our habits or the things we eat and drink. Using teeth to bite tags off of things, chewing on pens and pencils, and otherwise using teeth as tools can damage enamel. Acidic foods and beverages also erode enamel. Grinding teeth together (as in the condition known as bruxism) can also have a detrimental impact on tooth enamel.

Preserving Tooth Enamel

Here are some tips to deter enamel erosion:

  • Cut down on acidic foods and beverages.
  • If you do drink an acidic beverage, use a straw.
  • Chew sugarless gum.
  • Brush after meals and snacks.
  • Increase water consumption.
  • Make sure you use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Dentist-administered treatments include professional fluoride application, dental bonding, and dental crowns.

Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oldham and learn how you can protect your smile from enamel erosion.

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