Dr. Thomas Lokensgard

Can Tooth Enamel Repair Itself?

Have you ever wondered how your broken skin heals and your cut hair and nails grow back? The structure of the human body is amazing. It has the ability to repair many of its wounded, damaged, or eroded parts.

For instance, your body takes a few months to knit a fractured bone. However, can it repair or re-grow your tooth enamel – the hardest substance in your body? Well, if you want to know the answer, then read along.

What is Tooth Enamel?

Tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in your body. It is the durable outer most layer of your tooth. Enamel has a natural white color, and it comprises of rock-hard calcium phosphate. It protects teeth-dentin, i.e., the layer just beneath the tooth enamel.

In case you do not know, dentin is the largest dental tissue that consists of microscopic tubes. If the tooth enamel erodes, bacteria enter the dentin. From here, the infection penetrates the softer inner tissue or pulp. The blood vessels and the nerves run through the dental pulp.

Therefore, the enamel is the outer covering that protects not only the dentin, but also the delicate nerve tissues inside. While enamel is harder than teeth bone, it can become weak or even completely damaged. If you have a sweet tooth and often indulge in sugary foods, then you are more susceptible to enamel erosion.

Erosion of Tooth Enamel

Your mouth is the gateway to your body; it opens the window to your overall health. Many studies have established the fact that your oral health has a connection with your overall well-being. Your mouth is a battleground for the harmful and beneficial bacteria.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NICDR), the good bacteria help to maintain the oral ecosystem. On the other hand, the harmful bacteria destroy the protective layer of your tooth, i.e., your tooth enamel.

In case you do not know, the harmful bacteria thrive on the sugary and starchy food that you eat. When you munch on a sweet snack, the bad bacteria become active and produce acid. Because of the acid attack, the tooth begins to lose its minerals. This process is demineralization.

Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Erosion

Chomping and sipping sugar and starch for a long time causes the enamel to chip and wear away. Some of the early signs of enamel erosion include:

  • Discoloration of the Tooth: The teeth begin to look yellow as the translucent tooth enamel erodes, thereby exposing the yellow dentin beneath.
  • Increased Dentin Hypersensitivity: The cavities in the tooth enamel and dentin allow bacteria to enter the pulp. This eventually leads to extreme tooth sensitivity.
  • Susceptible to Wear And Tear: Brittle teeth have a higher propensity of chipping or breakage.

If your enamel begins to erode and decay, it is better to address the issue and prevent the covering from complete damage.

Can The Tooth Enamel Repair Itself?

Your mouth remains under constant acid attack due to frequent consumption of sugar and starch. The repeated acid attacks lead the tooth enamel to demineralization, i.e., continuous removal of minerals. You may also see a white spot on the tooth affected by the acid attack.

It is the first stage of tooth decay, and the enamel itself can repair or reverse the damage. At this stage, the saliva comes into play. Saliva contains essential minerals, including calcium and phosphate, which help the tooth enamel in “re-mineralization.”

However, it is important to know that tooth enamel is not living tissue. Therefore, once it goes, it cannot grow again. All you can do is to help the tooth enamel reverse the damage and replace the mineral loss. However, what can you do to prevent the enamel erosion? Let us find out.

Build Back the Tooth Enamel

The constant acid attacks weaken and destroy the tooth enamel. It is important to understand that the formation of cavities is permanent damage that requires dental filings. In addition, no product, toothpaste or gel can make your enamel re-grow.

While you cannot re-grow the tooth enamel back, you can strengthen and repair the enamel through restorative procedures. For instance, you have to revisit your dietary habits and limit your sugar intake.

Today, many products are available, including toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental guards, which may help you prevent the damage.

Dietary Changes

While brushing and flossing are crucial to preserving the tooth enamel, controlling your diet is also important. If your enamel is yet to wear out completely, changing your poor hygiene and dietary habits can do great service to your teeth.

  • Avoid food and drinks with a high quotient of starch. (see our list of high alkaline foods)
  • If you cannot resist carbonated sodas, use a draw for drinking it – This helps to prevent the acid from contacting the tooth enamel.
  • While you are munching acidic treats, sip water in between. This helps to wash away the particles that may cling to your teeth. In addition, it helps to neutralize the mouth.
  • Chewing sugar-free gums helps the production of saliva. Not to mention, saliva contains calcium and phosphate that protect your tooth enamel.

See Remineralizing Teeth

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on google
Google+

Dr. Thomas Lokensgard