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Enamel hard as diamonds?
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AndieLyn posted:
I went to the dental hygienist today for a cleaning. I asked her if she would be using an abrasive polishing compound or a non-abrasive cleaning compound... and she looked at me like I was speaking a different language. She then proceeded to tell me that the polishing agent she uses is as abrasive as toothpaste, and the only thing that can scratch the enamel on your teeth is a diamond tipped drill. This mystified me for a minute. Won't silica- based polishing compounds do the same thing? Was I wrong for being concerned, as I have no cavities now, and do not want any? (I understand that when the flouride- rich top layer of the enamel is damaged, your teeth are more susceptible to bacteria from food and the like.)
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Zev Kaufman, DDS responded:
Dear AndieLyn:

I just noticed that your question went unanswered. Sorry for the delay.

No, you are not wrong for being concerned, however, the hygienist is not wrong either.

People sometimes do not see the forest for the trees. The polishing compound is very low in abrasive value as compare to your enamel. It will easily and readily remove any external stains on your teeth.
If you keep rubbing your teeth for hours with ANYTHING, eventually you will abrade the enamel surface.

Testing of dental tooth paste is done in this manner. The paste is used over an extended period of time on enamel and other materials and then the abrasiveness is checked.

Most products on the market, if used correctly will not damage the enamel.

In addition, I prefer that you have a polished tooth surface.
Cavities are not caused by the hygienist or dentist polishing your teeth. They are caused by you, failing to remove the bacterial plaque formed on your teeth during the day and night. The bacterial plaque is what damages the enamel.

Go and get your teeth cleaned. The hygienist is there for that reason.

Best of luck,
Dr. Zev Kaufman


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