Tooth enamel is the protective layer on your teeth that helps to keep them strong and healthy. Kids need to understand how important it is for them to take care of their tooth enamel, as it can be affected by their lifestyle choices. Here’s what you need to know about kids and tooth enamel:
What Is Tooth Enamel and What Does It Do?
Enamel is among the four essential dental tissues that construct and protect our teeth. Three of our four dental tissues are rigid: enamel, dentin, and cementum. These ‘hard’ components ensure that teeth remain strong and healthy for years to come. At the core of each tooth lies a soft tissue known as pulp, which is the fourth dental tissue.
The hard outer tissue of teeth, such as enamel, creates a protective shell for the more sensitive inner layer (pulp), which acts as the nerve center. The pulp of a tooth is composed of nerves, blood vessels, and interconnective tissues. The enamel, the protective outermost layer of calcified tissue, guards and shields the sensitive inner core known as dentin. The enamel is the essential barrier that safeguards your teeth from harm and decay, shielding the more delicate areas of your pearly whites.
The Importance of Tooth Enamel for Kids
Children’s tooth enamel is still developing and not fully formed on their adult teeth until they reach the age of 7 or 8. Because it is thinner, their teeth are more prone to cavities, decay, and staining at an earlier age than adult teeth. Therefore, it’s important for parents to be aware of how to best protect their children’s teeth. Tooth enamel loss is a serious problem that can lead to painful cavities and teeth loss, especially if habits are not established early on.
Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Tooth Enamel
- Assist your child in practicing good oral hygiene habits by brushing twice daily with a fluoride-rich toothpaste
- Encourage healthy eating habits and limit sugary snacks
- Schedule regular checkups with a pediatric dentist
- Use protective mouthguards while playing sports
- Avoid acidic beverages such as soda
Over Time, Enamel Can Degrade
As a result of certain habits, your enamel can become weakened in the long term and may even start to erode. Causes for weakened enamel include:
- Consuming sugary or acidic foods
- Drinking acidic drinks or sugary beverages
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Excessive teeth grinding and clenching
- Over-brushing the tooth surface (brushing the teeth with too much pressure)
Once This Degradation Takes Place, Can Enamel Be Restored?
Tooth enamel, since it does not contain any living cells, is unable to self-regenerate or be repaired naturally. Nevertheless, although you cannot restore your enamel, you can engage in activities that help to remineralize your teeth. Replenishing your enamel’s minerals is an effective way to fight tooth enamel erosion. You can help promote enamel mineralization with a few healthy habits:
Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
Nature blesses us with fluoride, a mineral that helps to fortify enamel and prevent cavities from forming. It can even reverse the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis) while safeguarding teeth against further harm to their enamel.
You can find fluoride in ADA-approved toothpastes and mouthwashes. Twice a day, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and rinse your mouth using a fluoride-based formula at least once each day to help strengthen the enamel on your teeth.
Eat a nutrient-rich diet
Feeding your body with a healthy diet abundant in essential nutrients not only boosts oral health, but helps to reinforce enamel and provide saliva with the necessary elements required to regenerate its strength. Not only does your saliva help neutralize potentially hazardous acids, but it also provides calcium, phosphate, and fluoride to the teeth – essential components for strengthening dental tissues.
For those looking to rebuild their enamel, foods that are abundant in Vitamin D, Calcium, and Vitamin K should be a part of your daily diet – they help restore shine and strength!
Be cautious of sugar intake
Children tend to consume more sugar-filled snacks and beverages than adults, so it’s important to be mindful of their consumption. Sugary foods can erode enamel and lead to a greater risk of cavities.
If your child does enjoy sweet treats, it’s best to combine them with foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus, such as cheese. Both of these minerals help to rebuild enamel as they neutralize the acids that form when sugar meets bacteria.
Visit your pediatric dentist regularly
Regular visits to the pediatric dentist are critical in aiding your child’s overall oral health. During these visits, they will clean, check for any signs of tooth decay and assess if there is any damage to the enamel. The earlier a problem is detected, the better!
Dentists can also apply fluoride treatments that strengthen the teeth and restore weak spots on the surface of the enamel. When it comes to protecting your child’s tooth enamel, prevention truly is key.
It is essential for parents to be aware of the importance of tooth enamel in children. Since their enamel is still developing, it is more vulnerable to cavities and decay than adult enamel. Therefore, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice daily with fluoride-rich toothpaste, limiting sugary snacks, and scheduling regular checkups with a pediatric dentist. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your child will have strong and healthy teeth for years to come.
At Southern Dental Associates, We Are Dedicated to Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy!
At Southern Dental Associates, our pediatric dentists are passionate about providing your child with the highest quality of dental care. With years of experience in preventive and restorative dental services, we understand how to take the best possible care of your kid’s teeth. We strive to make sure that their oral hygiene is taken seriously, so they can maintain a healthy smile for years to come!
If you’re looking for an experienced team who specializes in pediatric dentistry, look no further than Southern Dental Associates! Our team will work diligently to ensure that your child receives optimal oral health care—from routine cleanings and check-ups to treatments such as fluoride and sealants. Contact us today to schedule your child’s appointment — we look forward to serving you!