Many people notice that their teeth start to look, and, yes, even feel different over time. This is totally normal, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for an older, worn-down smile. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst dentists about age-related dental changes…
Dental Enamel: The Basics
When we talk about dental enamel we are essentially talking about the outermost layer of your smile—this is the tooth layer that protects more sensitive layers like dentin and dental pulp. Healthy enamel is usually some shade of white, and somewhat shiny. Because enamel is pretty non-porous, it does a good job of keeping irritants and bacteria from infiltrating the teeth.
Many people begin to notice that their smiles look and feel different due to bruxism, or chronic dental grinding. When a patient’s top and bottom teeth grind against one another, the enamel slowly wears away and becomes thinner. Bruxism is a surprisingly common, and can even happen at night while the patient is asleep.
If you are someone who regularly eats or drinks acidic things—that is something with a pH lower than 4.5—you will likely notice that your enamel starts to thin over time. When enamel comes into contact with an acidic substance, it becomes temporarily softer than usual. During this period of time your enamel is easier to chip and crack, and it is less resilient against harmful oral bacteria. The good news is that dental enamel re-mineralizes after acid exposure, but it takes about 30 minutes.
As you can see, there are a number of factors that affect the appearance and the health of your smile. The good news is that, thanks to the wonders of modern dentistry, you have more choices than ever before when it comes to restoring and enhancing your smile. Please feel free to contact our Elmhurst dentists to learn more and to schedule a personal consultation.