How to Strengthen Tooth Enamel

strengthening tooth enamel

One of the most important parts of your teeth is the clear and protective layer you can’t see: enamel. Strong tooth enamel protects your teeth from tooth sensitivity and decay, making strengthening tooth enamel a key part of oral care.

While you can’t see enamel, you can see the layer below called dentin. Dentin is the tooth color that you and others can see, though enamel can be stained by foods, drinks, and tobacco use. Worn or weak tooth enamel can expose the dentin and cause extensive pain.

Some reasons for worn tooth enamel may be obvious and some may be surprising. Enamel can be worn or weakened by abrasive teeth whitening procedures (instead, use this list of safe teeth whitening methods). Tooth enamel can be damaged by some uncontrolled conditions, such as acid reflux disease, teeth grinding, and bulimia, as well as by use of certain medication. Diets high in starchy sugars and/or high amounts of soda drinking can damage enamel. Sometimes, genetics can play a part in worn tooth enamel. While the possibility of worn tooth enamel can be intimidating, there are ways to strengthen tooth enamel and protect your teeth.

Brush, brush, brush.

Plaque, which forms from a combination of teeth debris and bacteria, attaches to teeth and, when interacting with bacteria in the mouth, can eat away at tooth enamel. The best way to remove plaque is to brush teeth regularly. When brushing, remember not to brush too hard. Hard brushing can damage tooth enamel. Instead, brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush using gentle circular strokes for two minutes.

Schedule regular dental cleanings.

Regular brushing at home is an important part of strengthening tooth enamel. Just as important, and to further protect tooth enamel, teeth need to be cleaned by a dental hygienist in the dentist’s office. These dental cleanings remove plaque around the gum line and on the back of teeth, which are hard to reach with a regular toothbrush and floss. Schedule teeth cleanings with a dentist twice a year to keep teeth strong and healthy.

Minimize the sugar in your diet.

Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to tooth enamel damage. Sugary drinks, especially from sodas, can wear away at tooth enamel. Starchy foods can eventually form plaque and weaken tooth enamel. Instead, opt for calcium-rich foods that strengthen teeth. There are several calcium-rich foods that make enamel stronger, such as yogurt, cheese, almonds, kale, and sardines.

Drink water.

Water is a natural defender of tooth enamel and helps wash away the acid and bacteria that is damaging. Drinking water, or swishing water around your mouth and spitting it out, after indulging in the sugary drink are both ways to help protect your tooth enamel. Saliva is another natural defender, as it washes away acids in the mouth, coats teeth with calcium, and continually strengthens tooth enamel. Since saliva plays an important role in strengthening tooth enamel, a dry mouth is a cause of worn enamel.

Seek out fluoridated products.

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and makes your teeth less susceptible to decay. Because of the effectiveness of fluoride, it makes sense to add fluoridated products to your daily routine. Fluoride can be found in some communities’ tap water (though not always in bottled water). Other fluoridated products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, can be an easy way to strengthen tooth enamel.

Treat conditions that can weaken tooth enamel.

Left untreated, acid reflux and teeth grinding can wear down tooth enamel. If you have symptoms of these, such as heartburn with acid reflux and a sore jaw with teeth grinding, it is important to discuss them with your doctor and/or dentist. Unfortunately, both conditions can go undiagnosed for a period of time. Sometimes, a dentist or doctor may notice the signs, such as damaged teeth, before the patient notices symptoms. Teeth grinding, in particular, can happen at night, making it incredibly difficult to notice (these are these signs of teeth grinding). The diagnosis and treatment of both conditions can lead to healthier and stronger teeth.

Protecting the protector.

Though it cannot be seen, enamel protects teeth from tooth sensitivity, pain, and decay. Recognizing the role it has helps us remember that tooth enamel is important and there are many ways to protect and strengthen it.

Area Dental Clinic

We provide a full range of technologically advanced dental services for all ages. At your first visit you can expect a comprehensive exam by Dr. Gibson, Dr. Thomas or Dr. Pausma and necessary x-rays. The doctor will determine what kind of cleaning you will need and diagnose all needed treatment.