What Is Tooth Enamel?

What Is Tooth Enamel?

The tooth consists of tooth enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp tissues from the outer surface to the inside. Dentin is covered with enamel in the crown of the tooth, while it is covered with cementum in the root of the tooth. Enamel is the tissue that covers the outer surface of the tooth and protects the soft tissues and nerves in the lower layers of the tooth.

The average tooth enamel is 2.58 mm thick, 95% of its structure consists of calcium and phosphorus minerals. It is harder and stronger than bone. Enamel colour varies from greyish white depending on its thickness to light yellow as the dentin layer is approached as it gets thinner.

Although it is very hard, reflux, teeth grinding-clenching, nail biting, decrease in the amount of saliva, use of medication, consumption of acidic and sugary foods cause erosions in tooth enamel over time. Since it does not contain living cells, it cannot be repaired spontaneously when damaged. Fluoride in oral care products such as water and toothpaste is useful for preventing tooth decay by hardening tooth enamel.

When the pH value to which the tooth enamel is exposed falls below 5.6, acid erosion begins and the enamel wears away. Table 1 shows the pH values of some foods and beverages.

Table 1. pH values of Food-Beverages

Food-BeveragespH
Lemon2
Coffee2.4
Coke2.7
Orange juice2.8
Strawberry3
Ketchup3.7
Yoghurt3.8
Black tea4.2
Milk6.4

Brushing teeth immediately after consuming foods with high acidic value is not suitable as it will damage the softening enamel. Instead, bacteria and plaques are cleaned by increasing saliva production through water, dairy products consumption, chewing sugar-free chewing gum. Thus, the mouth is neutralised.

Increased tooth sensitivity, pits and visible cracks on the tooth surface, roughness on the outer edges, rounded appearance, dulling and fading in colour, recession and bleeding in the gums, inward collapse of the teeth can be observed with thinning of the enamel. In order to protect the enamel and the entire tooth, sugary and acidic foods-drinks, sticky sugar and sweets, dried fruits, foods that can be stuck between the teeth, hard-shelled foods, alcohol and cigarette consumption should be avoided.

Since oral care is very important for the protection of dental and general health, it should not be neglected.  Preferring medium or soft hardness toothbrushes instead of large and thick wire toothbrushes and brushing without applying too much pressure protects the enamel.

The patient is examined by the dentist to determine how much wear is on the tooth enamel. In the treatment of tooth enamel, fluoride varnish that strengthens the enamel can be applied in the first stage, while veneer or crown treatment is applied when there is excessive erosion.

15.07.2023
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