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How Long Does Tooth Enamel Last?

August 20, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drlindsey @ 3:22 pm
woman brushing her teeth to maintain healthy tooth enamel

Did you know that every time you chew, you exert up to 200 pounds of pressure onto your back teeth? This kind of force could shatter bones, but luckily, the enamel (outermost layer) of your teeth is much more durable than that. In fact, diamonds are one of the few things tougher than tooth enamel! As strong as enamel is, though, it’s not indestructible. It also cannot grow back after it has been damaged; once it’s gone, it’s gone for good! With that said, there are ways to preserve your tooth enamel for a lifetime. Read on to find out the reason why tooth enamel is so strong and what you can do to protect yours.

The Secret to Tooth Enamel’s Strength

A study published in the journal Nature Communications revealed the main reason for the impressive longevity of tooth enamel. Enamel is made of microscopic rods containing hydroxyapatite crystals. By using cutting-edge imaging technology, researchers were able to observe the alignment of these crystals when they were subjected to damage. They found something incredible: these crystals deflect cracks on a microscopic scale. As a result, the cracks don’t spread very far, allowing enamel to preserve most of its structure for decades to come.

How Long Will Your Tooth Enamel Last?

Now that you understand the basics of tooth enamel’s durability, you might be wondering why some people’s enamel doesn’t last for a lifetime. That’s because, despite its incredible strength, enamel can still become damaged in a variety of ways, including:

  • Applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth  
  • Not brushing your teeth at all
  • Habitually grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Overindulging in sugary or acidic foods and beverages
  • Injury to the mouth
  • Certain medical conditions or medications
  • Smoking (or chewing) tobacco
  • Chewing on hard, inedible objects like ice, pencils, or your fingernails

Tips to Preserve Your Healthy Smile

Because tooth enamel cannot regenerate, you’ve got to preserve the enamel you still have by taking a proactive approach to your oral health. To keep your enamel – and your smile in general – in great shape, make sure to:

  • Gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, a mineral that strengthens enamel and works to prevent cavities.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks.
  • Get plenty of calcium, which builds strong teeth and bones.
  • Quit bad oral habits.
  • Attend two checkups and cleanings with your dentist per year.

Enamel is critical when it comes to protecting the sensitive inner sections of your teeth, maintaining a bright smile, and so much more. For that reason, follow the tips above to keep your natural smile healthy for as long as possible!

About the Author

Dr. Shiloh Lindsey graduated at the top of her class from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry in 1999. She is dedicated to giving her patients personalized dental care that greatly exceeds expectations. She also prioritizes preventive care and helping patients keep their enamel in good shape for years to come. To learn more about maintaining a healthy smile for a lifetime, visit her website or call (970) 482-3166.

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