Your child’s smile is precious, but it needs to be protected constantly. The body does have natural defenses in place, but they’re far from impenetrable. As a parent, it’s important to know about potential threats to your child’s health and how to avoid them. Learn more about the enamel defending your child’s pearly whites – and why a dental checkup in Melbourne is the best way to make sure it does its job.
What is Enamel?
The enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and is the hardest substance in the body. It’s even harder than bones! The purpose of the enamel is to protect the rest of the tooth – the parts that can cause pain or become infected – from the physical stresses of chewing, biting, crunching and grinding; it also mitigates the effects of painful temperatures and chemicals.
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on enamel alone to keep your child’s teeth safe. It has a major weakness: because it doesn’t contain living cells, the body can’t fix it if it breaks. Minor damage can be repaired by a natural process called remineralization, but this won’t work if too much of the enamel is gone.
What Causes Enamel to Erode or Break?
The enamel can become eroded over time due to the following factors:
- Friction: Grinding and clenching of the teeth can gradually wear them down.
- Abrasion: Brushing too hard, biting on hard objects and improper flossing are all hard on the enamel.
- Stress: If the tooth suffers from too much pressure, fractures could appear.
- Corrosion: The enamel can be eaten away by the acids in sodas, citric fruits and other foods and drinks.
Of course, the most famous threat to enamel is probably the cavities caused by bacteria in the mouth. If cavities are left alone, the tooth could become infected, causing a painful toothache and potentially leading to even worse health problems.
How Can I Protect My Child’s Enamel?
To keep your child’s teeth safe, it’s important to preserve their enamel with good oral hygiene habits. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your little one keeps smiling for years to come:
- Teach them good brushing habits. Let them pick a toothbrush that they like and try to find a toothpaste with a flavor or a licensed character that will appeal to them.
- Keep plenty of tooth-friendly snacks – such as plain yogurt, cheese cubes, apples and crunchy vegetables – ready and easily accessible.
- Make sure your child gets enough fluoride to toughen their enamel. Often you get all the fluoride you need from tap water. You can also give your child fluoride toothpaste once they’re old enough to know not to swallow too much of it.
And of course, keeping your child’s teeth healthy means seeing their dentist in Melbourne at least twice a year so that they can treat cavities and plaque before they have a chance to do too much damage. Give your child the gift of a smile that lasts!
About the Author
Dr. James G. Trantham has been serving Florida families with dentistry since 2006 and firmly believes in staying on the cutting edge with continued education. He participates in Give Kids a Smile, helping underprivileged children protect their enamel. To schedule an appointment at his Melbourne practice, visit his website or call (321) 723-3477.