Our teeth are fairly sturdy parts of our body. Considering how much they’re used on a daily basis, it’s amazing how well they function. How do you care for your teeth, however, when your tooth enamel starts to fade?

Enamel is the thin outer covering of your tooth. This shell is the hardest tissue in the entire human body, and your enamel covers the crown which is the part of your tooth that’s visible outside of the gums.

Although enamel is translucent, the main portion of the tooth (the dentin) is the part responsible for the color of your teeth! If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, red wine, or cola, your enamel can start to stain.

But what does it do?

Your enamel protects your teeth from every day use such as biting, grinding, and chewing. Even though we mentioned it’s the hardest tissue in the body, that doesn’t mean it can’t chip or crack. Unlike a broken bone that can be put into a sling until it’s healed, a chipped or broken tooth’s damage is there forever. Enamel doesn’t have living cells, so your body cannot repair it.

How can you tell if your enamel is eroding?

Symptoms vary from person to person, but some include:

  • Discoloration: Your teeth may appear yellow as the enamel erodes
  • Sensitivity: Sweet food or hot vs cold foods may cause a great deal of pain when eating
  • Cracks: As your enamel erodes, the edges of teeth become rough and irregular

What are some practical ways to avoid this pain and frustration altogether?

First, try to eliminate those highly acidic foods and drinks such as sodas, lemons, and other citrus fruits and juices. Next, use a straw when you drink acidic drinks. This allows the beverage to push to the back of your mouth and avoid your teeth. Chew sugar-free gum between meals! Chewing gum not only boosts saliva production, but this saliva helps strengthen your teeth. Lastly, use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride will help strengthen your teeth, so make sure to read the labels of toothpaste!

Your teeth don’t have to take an unnecessary beating. Watch what foods you’re snacking on, and be sure to talk to your dentist if you begin to see early signs of enamel erosion and tooth decay.

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