The secret to tooth enamel’s lasting protection

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Tooth enamel is one of the most vital components of your mouth because it helps preserve your teeth and prevent cavities and infections. While many people know that it’s one of the strongest and hardest substances in the human body, researchers only recently discovered another secret that your tooth enamel has been keeping. Even though enamel is known to be powerless against acidic substances, for many people, it still manages to preserve their teeth for a lifetime. How is that possible? Read on to learn what provides our enamel with the ability to function and stay intact despite oral adversity.


Recently, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took a closer look at the patterns and materials found in tooth enamel. What they discovered was unique, which was why it was later published in Nature Communications in September of 2019Using high-powered imaging technology, they were able to see that tooth enamel was comprised of a pattern of individual crystals.

Naturally, their discovery made them even more curious. So, they began to observe how different crystal alignments can affect the lifespan of the enamel stacked up against everyday forces such as chewing food. Using a computer model, they were able to replicate different patterns and put it through these tests. What they found was that, through several trials,  they found that smaller angles between adjacent crystal patterns were more resilient and better able to protect from cracks and damage.


While the research may seem like blind genetic luck is the sole component that determines how strong your enamel is, that’s not the case. There are several factors that go into how strong and durable this protective layer of your teeth is. Its primary weakness is acid produced by harmful oral bacteria and found in certain foods and drinks such as soda and citrus. Even if your tooth enamel has smaller angles between adjacent crystals, without the proper care and being mindful of how your diet is impacting the substance, the protective surface of your teeth will be at risk.


Many people have heard the term “tooth enamel” from their dentist but aren’t sure why it’s so important. It plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your teeth and overall mouth. Because it’s the outermost layer of your teeth, it acts as a shield that protects them from cavities and decay. Without it, who knows how long you’d be able to enjoy your natural teeth for. That’s why it’s important to give your mouth a little extra help by being conscious of your habits and diet that could cause the protective structure to erode. You can do this by:

  • Keeping up with your dental hygiene routine.
  • Limiting your consumption of carbonated beverages.
  • Cutting back on foods containing sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings every six months.
  • Quitting bad oral habits like nail-biting and crunching ice.

If you begin to experience any dental sensitivity, this could signify that your enamel is damaged or thin. When you visit your dentist, they’ll be able to suggest oral health products and treatments that can help strengthen and rebuild the protective layer of your teeth, helping you preserve your smile for decades to come.

About the Practice

At Breckinridge Dental & Orthodontics, our team is comprised of six dentists, including two orthodontists. With our team’s unique range of experience and ability, we’re able to offer patients high-quality comprehensive dental care under one roof, for their convenience. Whether our patients are looking to get a regular checkup and cleaning or porcelain veneers, we’re able to do it all. Our team also focuses on giving patient-centric care, including individualized treatment plans that are custom-built to solve each patient’s unique problems that they face. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call 972-737-9159.

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