Tooth enamel --- the hard, invisible shell that covers and protects your teeth --- can become over time. Grinding your teeth and consuming excessive amounts of acidic foods, carbonated sodas and fruit juice can damage your tooth enamel. Once you have damaged your enamel, restoring it is close to impossible; you can take a few steps to restore the health of your teeth, however.
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Over-the-counter toothpastes that protect your tooth enamel also strengthen your enamel. Erosion causes your tooth enamel to weaken, which can make your teeth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Brushing with an enamel-strengthening toothpaste rehardens your enamel. Your stronger enamel wards off acid attacks from the various foods and beverages you consume. Tooth sensitivity is also reduced. You can use enamel-strengthening toothpaste in place of your regular toothpaste --- ideally, once in the morning and once before bedtime.
Plaque, sugar and bacteria in your mouth cause your enamel to lose minerals. Your enamel becomes weak as a result, and ultimately tooth decay may occur. To remineralise your enamel, apply fluoride treatments. Fluoride is present in commercial toothpastes and mouth rinses; dentist-administered treatments contain a higher level of fluoride. Your dentist can prescribe fluoride treatments in tablet and liquid form. She can also give you an in-office fluoride treatment by having you wear a mouth tray containing fluoride foam for a set amount of time.
Porcelain Veneers and Crowns
Once enamel becomes damaged, the only way to restore your teeth may be to cover them up to avoid further damage. Covering your teeth also enhances their appearance. A crown is a cap placed over your affected tooth that covers it completely. Porcelain veneers are custom-made laminates that hide the front and sides of your tooth. Crowns require the whittling down of a large part of your tooth, while veneers only require a minimal portion of the tooth. Crowns are mostly used for severe dental damage.
Prevention of Damage
Preventing enamel damage helps keep your teeth healthy and your enamel strong. Make small adjustments. Drink beverages through a straw instead of directly from a cup, can or bottle. The straw pushes the liquid to the back of your mouth, therefore avoiding your teeth. Chew sugar-free gum and drink water to promote saliva flow. Saliva washes and rinses your mouth; it eliminates food particles and promotes mineralisation. Limiting acidic foods such as lemons and pickles is another option. If you do eat acid-rich foods, swish water around in your mouth to limit the damage.
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