Put simply, enamel is your tooth’s protective shell. It’s very strong, incredibly smooth, and beautifully white. Enamel’s strength keeps your tooth from cracking, fracturing and breaking during the everyday things we put our teeth through. Its strength comes from very high levels of hydroxyapatite crystals (and fluorapatite in people who use fluoride products) which protect the rest of the tooth from bacteria and acid attacks. The strength of the crystals in the enamel prevent the breakdown of tooth over time. Enamel’s smoothness keeps unwanted debris from sticking to it and aids in teeth naturally having some self-cleansing properties. Rough enamel that isn’t smooth, due to breaks and demineralization, is less resistant to plaque and bacteria. The color of enamel and its opalescence gives teeth their beauty and many unique characteristics. You can also check out our other posts on teeth whitening for more info on that!
To illustrate enamel’s various functions, imagine a brand new ski helmet. It’s strong enough to protect what’s important underneath. The smooth (and sometimes glossy) outer layer keeps snow and ice from building up on it. The design and contours, combined with patterns and colors, make it unique. If you beat it up too much, eventually it cracks or fails and what is underneath can become damaged. Because the person under the helmet doesn’t have the same built-in protection as the helmet, his or her head is much more susceptible to trauma, injury, or a hair-full of snow and ice (insert sad face).
So to keep your enamel strong, smooth, and beautiful, remember to brush and floss it with products intended to preserve these traits. Many dental products contain calcium and phosphate to help remineralize weak spots (which helps keep enamel smooth). Whitening toothpastes are also incredibly easy to find and can be quite beneficial.
Bonus tip: Please don’t forget your helmet when ski season rolls around!