UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What is enamel?
Question Date: 2012-10-17
Answer 1:

Enamel can refer to a couple of things. When you say enamel, you might be talking about tooth enamel, which is the white, visible part of our teeth. Tooth enamel is made out of different kinds of mineral, some organic materials (carbon- containing compounds), and water. But you might also be talking about "vitreous enamel" which is used to coat the surfaces of metals and ceramics. Vitreous enamel is made by melting glass over the surface of the object you're trying to coat. It is smooth and often looks somewhat shiny.

Answer 2:

Enamel is the hard material that coats your teeth, and is made mostly of a mineral. In other words, the coating of your teeth is made of rock! This outer enamel layer is hard, but fairly brittle (it can break easily), so beneath the coating most of your tooth is made of dentin, which is softer.

However, we call other things enamel. There's enamel paint, which is totally different, and there's also porcelain enamel, which is used to make a lot of dishes. Enamel paint is usually any paint that gives a glossy (shiny) finish and is fairly durable, so you'll often see it used for painting floors. Porcelain enamel is just a bunch of powdered glass that's squished together and then melted to make a durable (glass) coating.

Answer 3:

Enamel is a layer of hard mineral that covers the outsides of our teeth and protects them from damage from what we are eating, as well as from bacteria or other disease-causing things.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use