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What Can Damage Your Teeth’s Enamel?

The enamel is the tough eggshell-like, outer layer that protects your teeth. Did you know it is the hardest substance in the body? But despite its hardness, the enamel can become susceptible to wear and tear. After all, it has taken a beating through the years of chewing and biting.

At a glance, the enamel may look white, but it’s actually clear. But substances such as coffee, tea and cigarettes can cause discoloration, resulting in the formation of unsightly stains of yellowish or gray hue.

When this outer protective layer is breached, it can result in tooth decay. Acids and bacteria can eat away the enamel and expose the sensitive parts of the teeth. The enamel can also be breached when teeth are chipped or cracked; this type of damage is permanent because the teeth or enamel cannot regenerate or grow back.

As the inner portion of the affected tooth is exposed, it becomes susceptible to decay. Tooth sensitivity can also set in, resulting in radiating pain when one eats or drinks hot or cold food and beverages.

So how does bacteria erode the teeth’s protective layer? The bacteria in the mouth will feast on the bits left every time we eat sweet or starchy food items. This is where the acid comes from; it is the acid that will wear away the enamel. Acids from fruit juices and soda can also grind down the teeth’s defensive coating.

Some people enjoy a glass of wine, but this can increase the risk of teeth discoloration and enamel erosion. If you have a penchant for this beverage, it is best to brush your teeth as soon as possible. Or at least swish or gargle water to rinse away the damaging acids. Eating a piece of cheese, drinking milk, or chewing sugar-free gum can also prevent acid damage.