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Enamel - Definition of Enamel


Updated April 13, 2009

Enamel - Definition of Enamel
Photo © A.D.A.M.

Enamel, the first layer of tooth that is visible in the mouth, is a porous, calcified substance made from crystalline calcium phosphate. Enamel appears to be a soft beige to white color, yet it is semitranslucent allowing the color of the dentin layer to penetrate through. Enamel is also the hardest substance in the body.

Enamel is prone to demineralization, or the loss of structure. Common causes of this are:

  • Erosion - the wearing and loss of enamel by acid in foods and beverages
  • Abrasion - the wearing or loss of enamel from a mechanical source, such as a tooth brush or excessive use of abrasive tooth whitening paste.

Both factors may result in tooth decay and tooth sensitivity.

Fluoride has been proven to remineralize and strengthen the enamel, along with the use of the proper brushing and flossing techniques

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