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.

The Pandemic and Your Teeth

Post by: Gerarda on 28 Oct 2020

We have noticed a marked increase in broken teeth and sore jaws with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems since the pandemic of COVID-19 started and people were in lockdown; enough to warrant more than a passing thought. The need for mouth guards to prevent people from grinding and clenching their teeth is correspondingly up.

The Spanish Dental Association (Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Dentistas de Málaga, COEMA) hasn’t done a survey to verify this increase in dental problems since the pandemic started, but reports from colleagues of pandemic-related dental problems are common says Dr. Mikael Kahn. Mikael says, “Bacteria doesn’t take a break, nor does it know there is pandemic! One can postpone dental treatment for a while, but sooner or later it gets to a point where one can´t put it off any more.”

The combination of being in lockdown and therefore, delaying treatment, the stress of being without a job or wondering how one will pay one’s rent, or the fact that one has adverse working conditions, has caused the problems of broken teeth and sore jaws.

We are seeing the amount of stress people are under, having a severe impact on their teeth because of clenching and grinding. This in turn has created problems with their jaw and TMJ. Additionally, with people working from home more often than not they don’t have appropriate chairs to sit in for long periods of time and therefore, are hunched over at their computers. This in turn can increase grinding (bruxism).

In addition to stress and delayed care, we are seeing more cavities as people are snacking more because they are working from home and have ready access to foods that they would not ordinarily have at work. Consequently, people are also brushing less frequently. When people get out of their routines, many times the oral hygiene follows suit.

Having reviewed our records from the same period as last year from June to October, we have seen a 54% increase in the need for mouth guards, 87% increase in broken teeth treated either by composite repair or crowns and a 12% increase in treatment for cavities.

While we can´t say definitively that these statistics are a direct result of the lockdown we experienced in the spring, we can say that we have treated more broken teeth and TMJ problems than ever before during the same period.

Bruxism – Teeth Grinding

Post by: Gerarda on 03 Jul 2019

The effects of grinding teeth for many years

Ever wake up with a headache and it wasn´t from overindulging the previous night?

Do you ever experience any of these other symptoms?
• Migraines
• Tinnitus
• Painful facial muscles or jaw joints – TMJ
• Clicking, popping or grating sounds in your jaw
• Painful neck or shoulders
• Earache or a toothache or had many teeth hurting
• Broken or worn teeth

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you may suffer from a condition called, bruxism.

What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the habit of clenching or grinding ones teeth. This happens in the early part of the night when you are deep asleep. Sometimes it can be loud enough to wake up someone sleeping next to you. With some people they make no sound at all, and it is not until a dentist discovers wear on patient´s teeth that they know they are doing it at all.

What are the signs of bruxism?
Teeth that show signs of wear is one of the most obvious signs of bruxism. The force of the grinding can cause the teeth to break or fracture or even become shorter. It can damage dental restorations or cause veneers to pop off and teeth to become loose, as if the tooth is becoming “extracted”. Prolonged grinding can wear through the layer of dentin and cause teeth to become sensitive to cold and hot.

With lower front teeth you can sometimes see that the teeth have a sharp angle like a ski hill or they become irregular and chipped. The upper front teeth can come to be very thin. The molars or the big teeth can become flat and shiny and have the appearance of a skating rink. As you can tell, excessive grinding takes a toll on teeth.

What causes bruxism?
The causes of bruxism are not conclusive as many factors may be involved. One consistent theme that seems apparent though is that stress plays a big factor. In addition, an unbalanced bite, crooked or missing teeth may also be contributing factors. An unbalanced bite or a bite that feels like teeth are “high” can quickly become a TMJ issue. Furthermore if you don´t have back teeth, then the load is distributed on the front teeth only causing excessive wear on them.

What to do if you suffer from bruxism?
Consult your dentist to find the best solution for you. It could be a night guard that is worn while you sleep that prevents teeth coming into contact if you grind excessively and therefore, relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching. You will still grind and clench your teeth, but you will not be wearing away your teeth as you will be biting on the night guard instead.

Night guard

If you have broken teeth or have worn them excessively, they may need reshaping, rebuilding or possibly crowns.

Maybe you need to find ways to relax in your daily routine. It could be time to sit and read that book you have wanted to start, or to listen to your favorite tunes in peace and quiet. A nice warm bath at the end of a day is also a great stress reliever. What is your personal stress reliever? Remember what it is and try to make more time for it.

As continued grinding and clenching wear away the teeth, you might like to think about what is causing it in your own life. Whatever your answer, it is wise to see your dentist to discuss it and see what you can do about it.

Categories: Bruxism,Dental health,Dental Information
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Posted on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 at 8:52 am