Enamel softening has been considered to be necessarily associated with roughening of the surface, loss of luster and dissolution of the cemental substance that binds the enamel rods together; and whenever enamel decalcification is associated with decay of dentin this conception of enamel softening is only too accurate. But this conception seems to be only a part of the story, so to speak—the final part rather than the complete process of enamel degeneration.
For instance, 1 to 1,000 lactic acid and water at mouth temperature will cut tooth enamel in thirty minutes with a rough, white surface. A tooth placed in 1 to 500 lactic acid and some salivas will be unharmed. A tooth placed in this solution made with other salivas, after three or four days, may show the enamel perfectly smooth and to all appearances normal, and yet it can readily be pared to a slight
HEAD J. A STUDY OF SALIVA AND ITS ACTION ON TOOTH ENAMEL IN REFERENCE TO ITS HARDENING AND SOFTENING. JAMA. 1912;LIX(24):2118–2122. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270120103005
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