Examining Your Tooth Enamel

Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance that your body produces and your teeth’s most important protector. It is also quite vulnerable and requires a disciplined routine to protect it. In this article, your Rochester family dentists, Dr. Calcagno and Dr. Heimer shed some light on your tooth enamel.

What is Tooth Enamel?

Enamel is a thin layer of mineral crystals that covers the surface of your tooth’s crown (the white, visible part; not the root). Although your teeth appear white, enamel is actually translucent. The color of your teeth is derived from the dentin, the main part of the tooth and the layer just below the enamel. As the outside barrier, tooth enamel protects your teeth from damage during chewing, biting, and grinding. It also insulates your teeth, defending them from harsh temperatures and chemicals.

Because of daily exposure to pressure and other agents, tooth enamel can crack or chip. However, unlike your bones and other body tissues, enamel is not comprised of any living cells, so it can’t repair itself as do broken bones and skin lacerations. If your enamel cracks, you may need professional restorative or endodontic treatment to prevent further damage.

Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Cracks and chips aren’t the only dangers that taunt your enamel every day. Years of exposing your teeth to dark-colored foods and beverages can stain porous enamel. Professional cleanings at your six-month dental checkups will help prevent enamel stains from marring your smile. Enamel is also subject to erosion. Many foods that contain refined sugars and fermentable carbohydrates cause oral bacteria to become acidic and attack tooth enamel. Certain medications, dry mouth, and acid reflux also contribute to enamel wear.


Calcagno Cosmetic and Family Dentistry offer expert services including teeth whitening, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, root canals, and pediatric dentistry. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.