As one of the hardest tissue in your body, tooth enamel serves as a protective shield against decay. However, it does erode from age, dehydration and acidic foods and beverages.
Once damaged, tooth enamel can't be restored. However, it is possible to strengthen weakened enamel by "remineralizing" it with calcium and phosphates.
Brushing your teeth is one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities, gingivitis and other oral diseases. It helps to remove plaque, which is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums and contains bacteria that can cause tooth decay and other oral health problems.
Ideally, you should brush twice daily for two minutes in each session. This ensures that your teeth receive a thorough cleaning every time.
To do this, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use short, gentle strokes. Be sure to cover the entire surface of your teeth - inside and outside, as well as the chewing surfaces - with each brushing.
In addition, avoid acidic foods and drinks that can weaken enamel and make it more susceptible to damage from brushing. Wait at least an hour after eating these types of food and drinks before you brush.
Fluoride is an essential mineral found naturally in water, certain types of food and some dental products. It works to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel, making teeth more resistant to acids produced by plaque.
The outer layer of teeth, called enamel, is made up of a mineral structure of microscopic crystals that help protect against acid from foods and drinks and bacteria in the mouth. Without adequate fluoride exposure, these crystals begin to erode, leaving your teeth more susceptible to cavities and other oral health issues.
Fortunately, your dentist can provide concentrated fluoride treatment that is designed to strengthen your enamel and reduce sensitivity. The process can usually be performed after a routine checkup.
Dental sealants prevent tooth decay by covering pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back molars. These teeth are hard to reach and a regular brushing, flossing and fluoride routine may not be enough to protect them from plaque and food debris.
The roughness and unevenness of these molars can allow bacteria to hide and feed on leftover food particles, which then create acids that lead to decay. A sealant can prevent these areas from becoming infected and help you maintain a healthy smile for life.
Dental fillings are a great way to restore tooth enamel and prevent cavities. They can also be used to repair chipped, broken or decayed teeth.
When a cavity is formed, it can cause pain, discomfort, and even the loss of a tooth. To treat a cavity, a dentist will clean out the decayed area of the tooth and then place a filling in the hole.
There are several options for fillings including silver amalgam, composite resin, and ceramic/porcelain. The choice of material will depend on your medical history, the location of the tooth decay, and your preferences.
One of the most common cosmetic treatments available, veneers can change the shape, colour and look of teeth. They can correct crooked teeth, gaps, worn tooth edges and deep stains.
However, not all patients need veneers to improve their smiles. Some may require crowns to treat serious tooth decay or gum disease.
Dental veneers are made from composite resin or porcelain that have a natural appearance and are bonded to the front surface of your teeth.
To prepare a tooth for veneers, your dentist must remove some of the enamel from the exterior surface. This is done using a local anesthetic and helps to give the veneer a natural-looking appearance.