Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies and certainly the most beautiful part of our teeth. But do we know enough about its specifics, about what harms or protects it?
We explored the awareness of tooth enamel myths and facts among 4044 respondents globally. Do they match the findings of experts? See the article below to find out more on curious matters such as:
#1: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body: FACT
This seems to be the most well-known fact about tooth enamel, as 91% of all respondents confirm it.
Tooth enamel is 96% mineral, the highest percentage of any other tissue which makes it hugely durable (not invisible, though).
#2: Abrasive toothpaste can wear enamel down: FACT
Toothpaste is usually a good friend of our teeth. But is it always?
The correct answer lays in one indicator called RDA = Relative Dentin Abrasion. It shows the number of abrasive particles in each toothpaste. Very low and low abrasive toothpaste have RDA lower than 70. Using the ones with a higher RDA value threatens to harm the enamel. And the vast majority of DentaVox survey participants (75%) are aware of this fact.
Be careful: More often than not, the RDA value is not written on the package of the toothpaste. Look for it on Google.
#3: Tooth enamel can regenerate itself: MYTH
One of the widely spread misconceptions about tooth enamel (believed by 40% of the interviewees) is that it can regenerate itself. This is quite understandable as there are numerous articles and advertisements on the internet, heavily promoting methods and products for that.
The truth is, tooth enamel can be protected and erosion can be prevented with proper care. However, once lost, the natural tooth enamel cannot be regrown. Ever. It can only be hardened or completely restored through crowns eg.
Here are more interesting hard facts about tooth enamel:
#4: Fluoride softens tooth enamel: MYTH
Loved or hated, fluoride is researched to have a great influence on the strength of tooth enamel, as well as on the reduced risk of tooth decay. But the negative news around it seems to make 42% of the surveyed people believe that it actually even softens enamel.
Facts go like this: Although there are some minimal data about the possible risk of extensive fluoride intake in small children, fluoride does remineralize and hardens the enamel. And the amount of it in fluoride toothpaste or therapies is harmless.
#5: Some types of toothpaste can rebuild lost tooth enamel: MYTH
Here is where marketing interferes with medicine and makes 48% of respondents believe that rebuilding lost tooth enamel is easily possible by just using the right toothpaste.
No, magical toothpaste does not exist but fluoride-rich types capture important minerals such as calcium and phosphates from the saliva and force them back into the tooth. This helps strengthen the enamel (but hey, without artificially regrowing it).
#6: Dentists cannot repair enamel erosion: MYTH
So if enamel cannot be regenerated, what can one do in case of enamel erosion? Although one-fourth of survey participants believe that this is not possible, dentists can certainly come to the rescue here.
There are multiple procedures that can be used to repair worn-down enamel, the most common ones being dental bonding, veneers, and crowns.
#7: Saliva strengthens tooth enamel: FACT
It’s amazing how our own body – if healthy – often has the strongest prevention mechanisms. In the case of saliva, this is a very obvious and well-proven truth.
Although 30% of the DentaVox interviewees are hesitant about its advantages, the majority still correctly recognize its powers. Saliva not only contains calcium and phosphates which are essential for healthy enamel but also neutralizes acids and bacteria to further protect teeth from damage. So proper hydration and dry mouth prevention should not be underestimated.
Here are more strategies to strengthen tooth enamel:
#8: Calcium helps keep tooth enamel strong: FACT
Drink your milk and your teeth will be healthy! How many of you have heard this old advice? Apparently, almost everyone as 91% of surveyed people correctly recognize the importance of calcium for strong enamel.
Dairy products are not the only food source of calcium, though. Other calcium-rich foods include sardines, salmon, seeds, beans and lentils, almonds, whey protein.
#9: Yellow teeth are sometimes caused by worn enamel: FACT
There are multiple causes of yellow teeth. Worn-down enamel is one of them, as answered by 63% of DentaVox respondents.
Why is that? When the tooth enamel starts thinning, the dentin reveals itself. Dentin is the inner layer of the tooth, just below the enamel, and it has a yellow-to-brown color, causing the teeth to look discolored.
#10: Professional teeth whitening damages enamel: MYTH
Ah, yes… Teeth whitening. The greatest enemy of healthy tooth enamel? But… is it really?
According to 41% of survey participants – certainly yes; according to another 45% – not. What does science say? Although there is evidence that high-concentration peroxide products can damage teeth, there are nowadays numerous safer products and methods. Consult with your dentist for the best therapy and don’t trust whitening experts on the internet.
Which of those myths and facts were you aware of?
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Stats source: DentaVox
20 Questions: Tooth Enamel
Base: 4044 respondents (global sample)