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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

Closed on Friday
during the Summer.

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. You probably didn’t know that. But it’s also porous, which is why our teeth stain when we eat raspberries and drink red wine.

Enamel covers the crown, the part of the tooth that’s visible above the gumline. It is translucent, so you can see right through your enamel to the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, beneath it. The dentin is where your tooth color is dictated, whether it be white, off white, grey, or yellow.

Enamel is the protector of our teeth, so Dr. Egger’s a big fan of it. Here’s some things to understand about how you’re treating or mistreating your enamel, and how that could be a big mistake.

The job of the enamel

Enamel protects your teeth during daily use. It stands up to teeth grinding and eating hard foods, and it insulates the teeth nerves from potential temperature extremes in foods or drinks, and to the impact of some chemicals such as the alcohol in mouthwash.

Enamel is one tough customer, standing up to all off the above, but it can be damaged. It can crack or chip, but unlike bone cells, enamel has no living cells so once it is damaged the body cannot repair it.

Erosion, the long-term enemy of enamel

Although your tooth enamel is tough, like the granite on the shores of Lake Superior, it can be eroded over time. Acids are the usual culprits. Here’s a list of enamel eroders:

  • Fruit drinks (fruits have various acids, some very erosive)
  • Excessive soft drink consumption (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
  • Too much sugar and starch in the diet
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Medications like aspirin and antihistamines
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors (see below)

Environmental surface erosion

Friction, stress, general wear and tear, and corrosion can all combine to grind off the enamel from your teeth.

  • Attrition — Grind your teeth at night? This tooth-to-tooth friction is called attrition.
  • Abrasion — This is the wear that happens when you brush too hard, bite hard objects such as fingernails and pens, or chew tobacco.
  • Abfraction —This is basically a stress fracture of the tooth caused by flexing or bending of the tooth.
  • rrosion — This is the name for acidic contents hitting the enamel. Frequent corrosion takes off enamel.

How do you know the enamel has eroded?

There are various ways to tell your enamel has eroded. Sensitivity to sweets and temperatures can cause twinges of pain in the early stages. As it progresses, your teeth become discolored as more of the dentin is exposed. As enamel erodes the edges of your teeth can become rough and irregular. Severe sensitivity will come in the late stages. Also, cupping, otherwise known as indentations in the teeth show enamel loss.

Beyond your home hygiene, Dr. Egger is the keeper of your enamel. He can spot early signs that you’re doing things such as grinding your teeth at night, which degrades your enamel and endangers your teeth.

Is it time for your next regular exam and cleaning with us? Call (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.