Health A-Z

Tooth Enamel Can Grow Back: Fact or Fiction?

The human body is a complex cellular structure that regenerates it self automatically when it experiences wear and tear. Wounds close up and heal, broken bones knit together, cut hair and nails grow back again. However, there is one part of the body that lacks this regenerative property: the Enamel.

Contrary to what these toothpaste manufacturers claim, enamel does not grow back. Once destroyed, it can never be recovered.

What is an Enamel?

Enamel is a thin outer covering of a tooth, which protects the delicate tissues inside. It is a translucent shield, the uncelebrated hero that keeps our teeth functioning well. Most people do not understand how important the enamel is, until they start experiencing tooth problems.

When the enamel is damaged, the tooth becomes extra sensitive to hot and cold conditions within and outside the mouth.

The situation is usually severe to the point that even sweet treats like candy and chocolate can result to pain.The tooth will also start yellowing when it wears off. The translucent color of enamel is what keeps our teeth sparkling clean, the dentine below it is actually yellow.

How toothpastes work on the Enamel

Despite being the hardest tissue in the body, the enamel is not a living tissue and therefore, it cannot be generated by the body naturally.

Unfortunately, it cannot be grown artificially too, in spite of the advancement in technology today. So, all the claims by toothpaste manufacturers that they have a secret formula that can regenerate the enamel is nothing, but utter lies.

What the toothpastes actually do is to re-mineralize the enamel and not regenerate it.

They add calcium and phosphate minerals back into the teeth. When the mouth is too acidic, calcium and phosphates are drawn out of teeth. Fluoride, which is acquired from the toothpastes, forces the two minerals from the saliva back to the teeth. The toothpastes therefore do not regrow the enamel, but help maintain and strengthen the existing one.

What the dentists do to safeguard the enamel

Dentists use a plastic sealant to cover the enamel and to provide extra layer of protection. It is not the best choice, because it is not permanent. However, it is the only viable solution in the medical field now.

Recent developments

One of the major developments in this field is the study of hydroxyapatite by scientists in Kinki University in Japan.

The scientists in the institution have created a thin film of hydroxyapatite, which can be wrapped around teeth. Hydroxyapatite is the biomaterial that constitutes enamel. The thin film would therefore act as a substitute to the enamel.Most experts are still skeptical about the discovery and are not sure if it can work, although they agree that it is a promising start to solve the mystery that surrounds the enamel.

The takeaway

Enamel cannot be grown back. Our only option therefore is to preserve the enamel we have left. One of the most common way is brushing and flossing. We however tend to concentrate more on brushing and neglectthe fact that our dietary choices account for the destruction of the enamel. Another way to preserve our teeth is to check on our diet.

Foods and drinks to avoid

Avoid carbonated beverages and sweets, as these are the main culprits. You should also cut down on the consumption of foods and drinks that are acidic, as they tend to erode teeth. A good example is lemon juice-a great beverage, but highly acidic. An excellent way to fix the problem of acidic beverages is by using straws when taking them.

The straw will push the drink to the back of your mouth and as a result, your teeth will not come into contact with the acidity.You should then rinse your mouth with clean water to neutralize the acidity in your mouth. If you must chew gum, select the sugar-free varieties.

They will not expose your teeth to sugary substances.They will also facilitate production of saliva, which has the needed minerals to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

If you experience teeth related problems, it is feasible to consult a qualified dentist. Do not go for cheap medical solutions, as they may lead to destruction of your teeth. For instance, people easily jump to the idea of whitening their teeth with cheap over-the-counter whiteners.

However, these whiteners are usually highly acidic and they tend to erode the enamel at a much faster rate. Consult a dentist to be on the safe side.

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