Why Is The Condition of Your Tooth Enamel Important?

 

Enamel, which is the hard mineral-rich outer layer of your teeth, is the number one defense against tooth decay.  Unfortunately over time, enamel can be eroded by acid, which is found in food, drinks, and bacterial plaque.  As enamel erodes, your teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay.  When acid levels rise, calcium in enamel becomes soft which is called de-mineralization.  Your mouth can counteract this process with salvia.  Saliva has the ability to neutralize acid and the calcium within saliva helps bind to your teeth to help replace the lost enamel.  This is a process known as re-mineralization.

If there is too much acid in your mouth, saliva is not able to neutralize the effects.  Drinks that contain high citric acid such as soda and sports drinks can be very damaging to enamel.  Not only are these drinks high in acid, they also have a high buffering capacity that slows down the neutralizing effect of saliva.  Although brushing your teeth after drinking highly acidic beverages seems like a way to protect enamel, it can actually have a counter effect if done to promptly.  Acid found in food or drink softens the enamel and if you brush your teeth too quickly, the brushing can essentially brush away some of your enamel.

There are several methods in maintaining a healthy pH balance in your mouth.  The most effective way is to limit the amount of acidic food or drinks you consume.  If you decide to drink acidic drinks, use a straw in efforts to reduce the amount of time the acid is in contact with your teeth.  Also try and drink these during your mealtime.  The final step is to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after drinking or eating something acidic before brushing your teeth.  Because tooth enamel is the main component in maintaining healthy teeth, keeping your enamel strong is the best way to keep your teeth from decay.

To ensure your tooth enamel is intact with proper dental care consult The Dental Center at Easton today!