Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth in humans and many other animals, including some species of fish. It makes up the normally visible part of the tooth, covering the crown. The other major tissues are dentin, cementum, and dental pulp. It is a very hard, white to off-white, highly mineralized substance that acts as a barrier to protect the tooth but can become susceptible to degradation, especially by acids from food and drink. In rare circumstances enamel fails to form, leaving the underlying dentin exposed on the surface.
Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and contains the highest percentage of minerals (at 96%), with water and organic material composing the rest. The primary mineral is hydroxyapatite, which is crystalline calcium phosphate. Enamel is formed on the tooth while the tooth develops within the jaw bone before it erupts into the mouth. Once fully formed, enamel does not contain blood vessels or nerves. Remineralization of teeth can repair damage to the tooth to a certain degree but damage beyond that cannot be repaired by the body. The maintenance and repair of human tooth enamel are one of the primary concerns of dentistry.