Tooth Enamel Erosion and How to Prevent it

Post by: Gerarda on 19 Apr 2021

Even though you have the body’s hardest tissue covering your teeth, enamel, it is still very susceptible to damage especially from crunching or grinding hard substances, consuming acidic drinks, or chipping from opening a bottle with your teeth or biting your fingernails.

Enamel covers the crown of a tooth and is the only part visible outside the gum. Enamel serves a function of protection, providing a layer of insulation against temperatures and chemicals. If you have a tooth that has eroded you can have sensitivity for hot or cold when eating and drinking. Breathing cold air or eating sweets can also give you that same sensitivity. Once the tooth has eroded it leaves openings for the sensitivity to get through to the layer of tooth that contains the nerve fibers.

What causes tooth enamel erosion?
Eating too much food or drink containing sugar and acids erodes the enamel on teeth. Normal bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar and unless you maintain good oral hygiene, bacteria are left to feed on the sugar which wreaks havoc on your teeth.

Tooth enamel erosion can be caused by the following:
• Soft drinks & fruit drinks
• Sour foods or candies – any food that tastes sour indicates the presence of an acid
• Foods high in sugar and starches – bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, breakfast cereals, oats and other grains
• Bulimia or alcoholism – frequent vomiting can erode the tooth enamel
• Dry mouth or low saliva flow (xerostomia)
• Environmental conditions – grinding (bruxism), wear and tear, stress
• Abrasion – brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard toothbrush
• Acid reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Medications (antihistamines, aspirin, vitamin C)

How to avoid tooth erosion?
• Limit the amount of acidic food and drink you consume. If you are having a soft drink or fruit juice then have a glass of water or milk after to rinse your mouth or eat a piece of cheese.
• Drink water throughout the day.
• Use a soft toothbrush.
• Use fluoride toothpaste.
• Get treatment for any health conditions.
• Ask your dentist about sealants or dental bonding to prevent tooth erosion.

What to do if I have tooth erosion?
The tooth needs treatment in the form of tooth bonding or depending on the amount of tooth substance lost, it may need a veneer or a crown to protect it from further damage.

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