What causes weak enamel?

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your enamel. That is, until you have a problem with it.

Unfortunately, some damage to your enamel can’t be repaired on your own. However, there are steps you can take to protect your enamel.

Here we will take you through what enamel is, how to protect it and what poses a threat to enamel.

What is tooth enamel?

The enamel of your teeth is the hard outer layer covering the tops of your teeth. Incredibly, enamel is the hardest material produced by the human body. This layer is vital to protect the soft inside of your teeth (pulp) from damage, decay, and infection.

As robust as enamel is, it can thin and weaken over time. If you don’t perform thorough dental hygiene routines or have an unhealthy diet, bacteria can wear down your enamel over time and lead to cavities through tooth decay. Additionally, other unhealthy behaviours can contribute to dental erosion. This is damage caused to your enamel caused by an acidic environment that’s not due to bacteria.

Causes of weak enamel

Causes of weakened enamel may include:

  • poor dental habits
  • an unhealthy diet, particularly one containing lots of overly sugary or acidic foods and drinks
  • brushing too hard or using a toothbrush that is too hard
  • other chronic health conditions
  • dry mouth
  • smoking or using tobacco products
  • acid reflux or vomiting
  • overconsumption of alcohol

Unfortunately, enamel does not regenerate on its own like the cells in your bones do. Saliva can help your mouth maintain your enamel by neutralising acidity and washing away food matter, but it will not fully heal it after damage.

Below are steps you can take to support your enamel and prevent further damage:

Foods that damage enamel

Avoiding unhealthy dietary choices is your most powerful option in protecting your enamel. A sugary and acidic environment is the perfect condition for bacteria to grow in your mouth and break down your enamel, so food and drink that feed bacteria are wise to avoid.

To protect your enamel, try to avoid the following:

  • Snacking too much between meals
  • fizzy, soft drinks, and sports drinks
  • Citrus juices
  • sweets, pastries, and desserts
  • excessive alcohol
  • Chewing on ice and non-food items (like pens and pencils)
  • Any overly sugary or acidic food or beverage

Of course, you can’t avoid treats altogether. When you do enjoy treats, it is sensible to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to help prevent some of the potential damage.

Foods that protect enamel

Some food choices are powerful ways to support your enamel. Food that supports your oral health is rich in nutrients and promotes saliva production.

Healthy foods for your enamel include:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Low-fat dairy products

If you’re struggling to make lasting changes to your diet or dental routine, keep trying. The longer you maintain your routine, the more the habit will build and the easier it will be to make healthy choices. You have already made an important step towards protecting your enamel!

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