Understanding Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is the visible, outermost covering of the crown of your teeth. The colour of healthy enamel varies from light yellow to a grey or blue-like white. It’s the hardest substance in the human body and contains a high percentage of minerals. These minerals provide enamel with the strength it needs to protect the teeth.

What is tooth enamel made of?

The composition of tooth enamel is 95% minerals, 4% Water, 1% Proteins

95% Minerals

Primarily calcium and phosphorus, which bond together to form crystallites

4% Water

1% Proteins

99% inorganic substances.
By comparison, bones are typically around 70% inorganic.

The composition of tooth enamel is 95% minerals, 4% Water, 1% Proteins

Did you know?

Enamel has an average thickness of 2.58 mm. That is roughly one tenth of an inch, or the size of a thin wedding band or a key. Yet, it effectively protects the sensitive inner layers of teeth from the acids that can wear them away and cause painful cavities to form.

Enamel also protects the nerves and cells inside your teeth from exposure to hot, cold, and acidic foods that can lead to sensitivity.

Tooth enamel cannot be restored

Since tooth enamel contains no living cells, it lacks the ability to regrow. Once it’s damaged, it cannot regenerate—leaving the softer layer underneath exposed.

Acid found in foods and drinks is the leading cause of damage to tooth enamel. Many acidic foods and drinks that make up our everyday diet, like fruits and fruit juices, many types of salad dressings, coffee, wine and tomatoes, can weaken tooth enamel over time. This process is called acid wear, and approximately 1 in every 3 young adults is already showing signs of it.

Other causes of acid wear

The acid produced by oral bacteria, such as the bacteria in plaque, is another cause of acid wear. When we eat or drink certain foods, the bacteria in plaque interact with the sugar to produce acid that attacks and demineralizes tooth enamel.

Normally, saliva helps to neutralize acidity and remineralize the tooth enamel. However, if enamel loses minerals faster than it can be remineralized, it weakens and becomes thinner over time. When this process happens, the sensitive inner layers of the tooth can decay and may need to be filled, repaired or even extracted by a dentist.

Keeping enamel strong is important to maintaining good oral health. By taking simple steps every day, you can help protect your teeth from the effects of acid wear. Healthy, white teeth start with strong enamel.

Blonde woman smiling on a grey coach and leaning her chin on hands

Are You Protecting Your Teeth From Enamel Loss?

Learn some simple steps you can take to start protecting your tooth enamel from acid wear.

Learn how to protect your teeth from enamel loss

Woman drinking bottled water

Fluoride: How You Get It and Why You Need It

Fluoride is an important part of protecting your teeth from acid wear. Find out how to get it and why you need it.

Find out why fluoride is important

Woman eating a green apple

Acid Wear: A Common Cause of Tooth Decay

Protecting your teeth from acid wear begins with understanding what it is and how you can prevent it.

Learn how to prevent acid wear

Blonde woman smiling on a grey coach and leaning her chin on hands

Are You Protecting Your Teeth From Enamel Loss?

Learn some simple steps you can take to start protecting your tooth enamel from acid wear.

Learn how to protect your teeth from enamel loss

Woman drinking bottled water

Fluoride: How You Get It and Why You Need It

Fluoride is an important part of protecting your teeth from acid wear. Find out how to get it and why you need it.

Find out why fluoride is important

Woman eating a green apple

Acid Wear: A Common Cause of Tooth Decay

Protecting your teeth from acid wear begins with understanding what it is and how you can prevent it.

Learn how to prevent acid wear