Our mouths are exposed to different types of acids throughout the day from the food and liquids we consume. This can lead to acid or enamel erosion, a disease that causes damage to your teeth. The disease is caused by the erosion of the hard tissues of the teeth which leads to sensitivity or pain along with discomfort especially when you eat.
Tooth erosion leading to the loss of tooth enamel
Tooth erosion is one of the most common causes linked to the loss of tooth enamel, the outermost part of your teeth. The enamel is the hard tissue that covers your teeth and protects the root. So when any type of acid comes in contact with your teeth, it impacts the enamel first. Since the enamel has no living cells present, once it is damaged, it cannot repair itself. Once the enamel starts to erode, it exposes the inner parts of the tooth which leads to tooth sensitivity and pain.
Different factors that can lead to loss of tooth enamel
The acid produced by the bacteria that are present in your mouth is one of the leading causes of enamel erosion. The bacteria uses the food you consume to create acids that can be harmful to the enamel. With frequent exposure and bad oral hygiene, the acid can be very damaging leading to the loss of enamel. The following reasons can contribute to damaging the enamel:
- Soft drinks: Soft drinks and fruit juices contain acids that can be harmful to your teeth. They have phosphoric and citric acid which can lead to enamel erosion. Therefore, it is recommended that you limit your consumption of soft drinks and juices.
- Dry mouth: Individuals that experience dry mouth are more likely to face enamel erosion. The saliva is an important aspect of your oral hygiene as it keeps the acid and bacteria present in check. Without a constant flow of saliva, bacteria and the acid present can be damaging to your teeth.
- Bad oral habits: Not brushing or flossing properly or even chewing on items such as pens can gradually impact your teeth’s health.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Acid reflux can also lead to the erosion of the enamel. Frequently vomiting or acid reflux exposes your mouth to high levels of acid which can lead to enamel erosion.
- Genetics: Your genes also may play a role in leading to tooth erosion.
- Medications: Some medications introduce acids to your mouth when consumed such as antihistamines and aspirins. Constantly taking them may lead to enamel erosion.
Identifying Tooth Erosion
Our friend, Dr. Taher Dhoon, a dentist in Greeley, CO, says that there are some telling signs when an individual experiences tooth erosion. Signs of tooth erosion are:
- Discoloration: The tooth or teeth that are going through erosion usually are discolored first, in comparison to your other teeth. They will appear to be more yellow than the rest.
- Sensitivity: Your tooth or teeth will also become more sensitive especially to hot and cold liquids and food.
- Cracks start to appear: Erosion will lead to the edge of your teeth becoming jagged, rough and may even lead to a chipped tooth.
Preventing tooth erosion
Dr. Fardi Farhat from Dental One Care shares with us the best preventative measures for tooth erosion.
- Good oral health. The most obvious measure to prevent tooth erosion is to maintain a good oral regimen. This means you brush twice a day and floss at least once. You also want to make sure that at night, you give at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth after dinner. Before this time period, your enamel is vulnerable and the act of brushing tears away at it.
- Limit acidic food intake. You need to limit and monitor the food you consume. Maintaining a healthy diet is key and don’t consume a lot of sugary, soft drinks.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum keeps your mouth active and ensures that there is a constant flow of saliva. But make sure you get sugar-free gum since gum with sugar can lead to the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
- Use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps maintain the health of your teeth and ensures they remain strong.
Problems like enamel erosion can creep up on individuals slowly. That is why it is important that you go get a dental cleaning and regular checkup at your Sterling Heights dentist. They can help identify any problems that may lead to enamel erosion to help you combat it at an early stage. It is also vital that you contact your dentist as soon as you experience any of the signs linked to enamel erosion so your dentist can help you combat it.