A girl having a healthy tooth enamel

How To Strengthen Weak Tooth Enamel

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Enamel is an essential part of teeth, although it may not have mattered to you until it caused a problem. Tooth enamel serves as a protective layer for the teeth, and certain types of damage to it cannot be repaired on your own, there are steps you can take to support and protect it. Read on to understand more about enamel, how enamel erosion occurs, and the steps you can take to support and protect it.

What is Tooth Enamel and Why is it Important?

Enamel is the hard outer layer that covers the tooth's visible part known as the crown. Interestingly, enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. It is a vital layer that protects the soft tissue inside your teeth (also known as the pulp) from damage, decay, and infection.

What is Tooth Enamel Made of?

The enamel is a shiny and translucent structure. It is a mineralised tissue composed of 96% mineral organic content and water constituting the rest. Tooth enamel is made up of hydroxyapatite crystallites that contain calcium phosphate.

What Causes Loss of Enamel on Teeth?

Even though enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can thin out over time. Tooth enamel loss is often attributed to acids of bacterial or non-bacterial origin. Poor oral hygiene causes bacteria to wear down the enamel over time, leading to cavities. Dental erosion is the irreversible loss of tooth enamel caused by acids of non-bacterial origin.

Causes of weakened enamel may include:

  • Improper dental habits: Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush

  • Unhealthy diet: Consuming overly sugary or acidic foods and beverages

  • Acid reflux (backward flow of stomach acid to your food pipe) or vomiting

  • Smoking and  use of tobacco products

  • Overconsumption of alcohol

  • Dry mouth (also known as xerostomia)

  • Traumatic injury

Enamel loss can contribute to tooth sensitivity. As the enamel wears off, the underlying hard tissue called dentin gets exposed, making the nerves and tissues inside the tooth susceptible to hot, cold, and other stimuli. Enamel erosion may lead to the formation of dental caries on the enamel surface, an early stage of tooth decay. Protection of tooth enamel is hence essential for oral health care.

How To Strengthen Tooth Enamel

According to dentistry, caring for your tooth enamel is crucial as it does not regenerate as the cells in your bones do. As enamel does not contain living cells, repairing the damage from enamel wear or decay cannot happen naturally and requires a dental professional. Saliva helps maintain the enamel by remineralising it, neutralising acidity, and washing away food particles. It carries essential minerals like fluoride, calcium, and phosphate that help rebuild and strengthen weakened tooth enamel. But this will not fully heal it.

You may be wondering how to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Luckily, various measures that you may take to support your enamel and prevent further damage include:

1. Avoid Unhealthy Dietary Choices

When it comes to protecting your enamel and your long-term dental health, avoiding unhealthy dietary choices is a powerful option. Bacteria in your mouth thrive in a sugary and acidic environment and cause the breakdown of tooth enamel. Hence, items that are both sugary and acidic can be harmful to your oral health if consumed regularly.

Avoiding foods and drinks that feed bacteria is a smart choice. According to the Indian Dental Association (IDA), acidic foods and soft drinks are the most common cause of tooth enamel erosion. Generally, foods and beverages with a pH below 5.0–5.7 are known to trigger dental erosion effects.

Dietary habits that can help prevent damage to your enamel include:

  • Decrease consumption of overly sugary acidic foods and beverages.

  • Reduce consumption of carbonated drinks such as soda, soft drinks, and sports drinks.

  • Avoid swishing acidic drinks around the mouth to reduce exposure of teeth to acids.

  • Avoid the use of tobacco and excessive drinking of alcohol.

  • Refrain from chewing on ice, non-food items (like pens and pencils), and hard foods.

Upon consuming acidic foods and drinks, ideally, rinse with water or mouthwash to dilute and neutralize the acids. Also, avoid brushing immediately after consuming anything acidic, as it temporarily softens the tooth surface, speeding up enamel erosion. The IDA recommends waiting for an hour, at least, to let the calcium in your saliva repair the enamel.

2. Choose a Tooth-Healthy Diet

In the same way that some foods and drinks can contribute to tooth decay, some dietary choices are powerful ways to support your enamel and oral health. While avoiding sugary and acidic foods and beverages, your choice of a healthy diet could be rich in nutrients, promote saliva production, promote remineralisation, or all of the above.

Healthy dietary choices for your enamel may include:

  • Whole grains

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Lean proteins

  • Low-fat dairy products

  • Drinking water to stay hydrated

Using sugar-free chewing gum helps reduce dry mouth and stimulates the flow of saliva, allowing it to neutralise acids and remineralize the teeth.

3. Choose Fluoridating Products

Various products that help maintain your enamel’s health are available, including those that remineralise your teeth. Chief among these are products that contain fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth, prevents cavities and remineralizes tooth enamel preventing tooth erosion.

Products that contain fluoride may include:

  • Toothpaste

  • Mouthwash and antiseptic mouth rinse

  • Fluoridated water

You may consider using an optimal toothpaste, such as Colgate Total Advanced Health, that provides whole mouth health and protects the enamel from erosive damage. With Dual Zinc and Arginine technology, it fights germs on teeth, cheek, gums and tongue for 12 hours and repairs weakened tooth enamel.

If you are searching for the most effective option available, you may ideally consult a dental professional. Depending on your unique oral needs, your dentist may apply concentrated fluoride gel during a scheduled visit. You may also avail other vital diagnoses and treatment advice for your unique oral conditions.

4. Proper Dental Hygiene

When it comes to oral hygiene, the most powerful choices are entirely within your control. Practicing a proper dental care routine helps protect your tooth enamel.

Oral hygiene tips to properly care for your enamel include:

  • Brush gently for two minutes twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush

  • Floss between your teeth once a day or use an interdental brush to remove dental plaque from the enamel surface

  • Replace your toothbrush when it becomes frayed or worn to prevent enamel abrasion

  • Ideally, use fluoride toothpaste or enamel-strengthening toothpaste

  • Visit your dental professional at least every six months to address oral problems early and prevent long-term damage

If you struggle to make lasting changes to your diet or dental routine to protect your tooth enamel, remember that the first day will be the hardest. The longer you maintain the routine, the more the habit builds and the easier it becomes to make healthy choices. You have taken the first step by learning about what you can do to keep your enamel strong and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I fix weak enamel?
  2. Enamel can be strengthened to prevent further damage that may lead to tooth enamel decay. Minerals like calcium, fluoride, calcium, and phosphate can remineralize the enamel. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, a healthy diet, avoiding acidic foods, good oral hygiene and routine dental check-ups can help.

  3. Can you restore enamel on teeth?
  4. As enamel does not regenerate, the existing enamel needs to be protected. Tooth enamel repair for restoring the lost enamel requires a dentist. For mild enamel erosion, dentists may recommend using fluoride toothpaste. For severe cases, dentists may suggest restorative treatments such as veneers, or crowns.

  5. How can I fix my enamel naturally?
  6. Our body cannot produce new enamel. You can protect the existing enamel for natural tooth enamel repair. It can be remineralized with a healthy diet and by avoiding acidic foods. Proper oral hygiene, use of fluoride toothpaste and regular dental visits can help.

  7. Does teeth whitening damage enamel?
  8. Teeth whitening is done to remove discolouration from the surface of the teeth. Professional teeth whitening is usually safe on the tooth enamel. Ideally, consult a dentist to find out the best whitening options to whiten your teeth while mitigating the chances of enamel erosion and tooth enamel decay.