The Importance of Protecting Your Precious Dental Enamel

Dentist Blog

It's a lesson that is drummed into everyone. If your dental habits should result in the reduction or disappearance of your precious dental enamel, then it's gone forever. This can make your teeth far more susceptible to cavities and other issues. So how does your dental enamel actually work? And how can you protect your dental enamel?

What Is Dental Enamel?

Your dental enamel is the hard mineral substance that covers your teeth. It's the part of the tooth that can can actually be seen. Your enamel is largely made from a calcium mineral called hydroxyapatite.

How Can Dental Enamel Become Damaged?

While it's extremely durable, dental enamel can degrade over time. Excessive consumption of sugar is one of the most common culprits when it comes to damage to your dental enamel. The sucrose in food or drink (sucrose is the carbohydrate from which most consumable sugar is made) interacts with the bacteria in your mouth to form lactic acid. This acid is what attacks your dental enamel, and over time, this can lead to cavities when the enamel has been breached. Poor dental hygiene that allows food remnants to remain in your mouth (a lack of brushing, or inefficient brushing) can also cause excess acid production as these pieces of food are consumed by bacteria.

How Can You Protect Your Dental Enamel?

So now you know exactly what your enamel is and how it can be damaged. But how can you protect it?

  • Brush and floss your teeth two to three times each day, for two to three minutes. This might seem obvious, but a large number of people complete their brushing within 30 seconds. If you need to form more efficient dental hygiene habits, invest in an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. You can also use a water flossing system which directs a concentrated stream of water between the gaps in your teeth to dislodge debris. Many people find this easier to use than standard dental floss.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugary or acidic foods or drinks. This removes sugar before it has a chance to interact with the bacteria in your mouth with any seriousness. You can also get into the habit of drinking sugary drinks with a straw. The straw allows the majority of the sugary drink to bypass your teeth. It doesn't ensure that all contact is avoided, but it certainly minimises it.
  • Saliva largely neutralises dental acid before it can cause any major damage. Chew sugar-free gum on a regular basis (as in after each meal) to stimulate saliva production. Certain prescription medications can reduce saliva production, so have a word with your doctor if you mouth continually feels dry.
  • Try using an enamel-protecting toothpaste. There are a range to choose from, but you should opt for one that uses sodium hexametaphosphate as its active ingredient. This deposits a thin film on the surface of your dental enamel which acts as an acid-resistant barrier (while also repelling stains). Such a film is only temporary, which is why it needs to be replaced each time you brush (via using a toothpaste that contains sodium hexametaphosphate).

As always, visit your dental clinic if you have any concerns about your teeth. If you are particularly concerned about the integrity of your dental enamel, a bonding procedure might be in order. This is when a hard bonding agent is applied to any tooth that might be jeopardy, essentially acting as a form of artificial enamel. This is a last resort, and preventative care is always the best option.


5 May 2016

Travel With An Australian Dentist:  The Best In The World

Miranda Raff here. My brother is a stressed-out dental student, so I'm starting this blog on his behalf. I work in a travel agency and my brother is mortified by the number of dental tourism stories I bring home. I book short holidays for people who seem as though they are going to enjoy some relaxation in an exotic country, only to learn that they plan to have cheap dental procedures. Whilst there are good dentists in developing countries, according to my brother, the complex procedures these people plan to have simply can't be finished in such a limited time. This blog is an attempt to inform you about the high skill levels and advanced technology found in Australian dental surgeries. New techniques are being developed every year and Australian dentists are at the forefront of offering these solutions. I really hope this blog helps you to appreciate our dentists.