The thin outer layer on the tooth’s surface is referred to as the enamel, which is usually considered the toughest tissue in the body. Covering the crown, this hard shell is translucent as light can be seen through it. However, the dentin is what gives the tooth its actual color.
There are certain habits that may cause the enamel to become stained. For instance, heavy and frequent intake of tea, coffee, soft drinks or cigarettes tend to lead to staining of the enamel. By visiting the dentist on a frequent and regular basis for professional tooth cleanings, a majority of these surface stains can be removed. This helps in keeping the teeth clean and healthy.
Purpose of the Enamel
Dental enamel plays an important role in protecting the teeth against damage caused by day-to-day activities like biting, chewing as well as grinding. While enamel is the tough protective shell of the tooth, it is prone to chipping as well as cracking. Furthermore, tooth enamel is responsible for insulating the teeth from considerably painful temperatures and harmful chemicals.
Unlike broken bones that the body repairs overtime, chipped or broken teeth can’t be repaired. Since there aren’t any living cells in the tooth enamel, it isn’t possible for the body to repair it.
Enamel Erosion: The Causes
Tooth erosion typically results from the action of acids on tooth enamel. The erosion can result from heavy intake of soft drink, which exposes the teeth to elevated levels of citric and phosphoric acids. Furthermore, acids in fruit drinks can also cause enamel erosion and so can sugars or starches in foods. Having a dry mouth may also contribute to enamel erosion. In some cases, conditions like acid reflux and gastrointestinal disease may cause the enamel to erode. Drug use and genetics are yet other causes. Sometimes, environmental factors like stress and friction can also lead to enamel erosion.
Enamel Erosion: Environmental Causes
Among the different environmental factors that may contribute to enamel erosion, stress, corrosion as well as friction may lead to erosion of the enamel. Here’s an insight into the different mechanisms of enamel erosion:
What is Attrition?
The tooth-to-tooth friction that occurs naturally is generally referred to as attrition that results from the clenching or grinding of teeth. Typically, patients suffering from bruxism who grind their teeth in the sleep experience attrition.
Abrasion is the tooth’s wear and tear that occurs physically when the teeth are brushed too hard, flossed indirectly or used for biting on hard surfaces. Abrasion may also be a consequence of chewing tobacco.
What is Abfraction?
This is a consequence of stress fractures that affect the teeth in the form of cracks or bends.
Corrosion: The Common Cause
This mechanism occurs chemically as a result of the exposure of teeth to acidic components of medicines, acidic foods or alcohol. Patients with conditions like GERD and bulimia may also face enamel erosion resulting from corrosion.