03 Sep Your tooth enamel is rather amazing!
WHAT IS AS BRITTLE AS GLASS and at the same time, the hardest substance in your body? Your tooth enamel! Each time you bite down it handles the equivalent of 160 pounds of pressure, time after time. Think about how often you bite down during your lifetime. It’s wild!
Enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth, built to protect the softer dentin layer, and your super-sensitive pulp.
It’s Amazing How Such A Brittle Substance Handles The Pressure
It’s an engineering marvel. Actually, enamel is made up of a dense forest of long rods. These rods start crisscrossing each other as they go deeper into the tooth, diffusing the pressure. It’s like sprawling your body out flat to crawl over an ice-covered pond, spreading the pressure over a wider area.
Mother Nature’s Pattern For Strength
This same concept actually inspired a group of scientists to create glass that is 200 times stronger than normal! Read about it in the article, How to Toughen Glass by Cracking It: A Lesson From Teeth and Shells.
Enamel Is Built To Deal With Pressure… But Not Erosion
As strong as your enamel is, it doesn’t deal as well with acid and bacteria. It needs our help for that.
4 ways your enamel CAN get worn down:
- Acidic breakdown (usually from acidic drinks like soda, fruit juices, vinegars and sports drinks).
- Abrasion from rough brushing and tooth-whitening toothpastes.
- Bad habits like tooth-grinding or clenching. (Your teeth should only touch when eating or swallowing!)
- High sugar-and-starch diets, which create acid byproducts.
Your Enamel Is Finite So Treat It Well!
As amazing as your enamel is, it’s one of the only parts of your body unable to regenerate itself because it’s one of the only parts of your body not comprised of living cells. So protect your enamel by brushing regularly, flossing, and keeping your regularly scheduled checkups.