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What Happens to the Enamel as it Ages?

Posted on 8/23/2021 by Office
What Happens to the Enamel as it Ages?The enamel is the outer covering of your tooth. Given its toughness, the enamel is the hardest tissue in your teeth. This covering plays an essential role in protecting your tooth against bacteria intrusion. The enamel is translucent since you can see light through it. However, you may wonder what happens to it when it ages. Here are things that happen to the enamel as it ages.

Change in Permeability

When the enamel ages, it changes in permeability. When it is young, the enamel acts as a semi-permeable membrane. In this state, it allows slow passage of molecular substances and water through the pores found between crystals. As time progresses, the enamel grows in size and obliterates the pores between it. This makes it less permeable.


The enamel could get discolored when it ages. Normally, the enamel is white; however, it can turn yellowish as it ages. There are several things that contribute to this discoloration. The common one is the fact that the enamel loses its rods, which alters light reflection. As a result, there will be a teeth color change. Another reason could be the thinning of the enamel layer. Given that the enamel is translucent, it will be easy to see the yellowish dentin beneath it. This will also change how your teeth appear.


Attrition refers to the wearing off of the enamel. With time, the enamel will wear off with continued use. This condition can be severe especially if you clench or grind your teeth. Your enamel will wear down at a fast rate if you are always grinding them. Severe attrition will expose the dentin and lead to conditions like tooth sensitivity. This underlines the importance of coming in for regular dental checkups. Contact our offices for more information on how to take proper care of your enamel.

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Robin Reich, DDS | Stacey Wingad, DMD | Megan Reich Rihan, DMD
Andrea Vita, DMD

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