How to spot and prevent dental erosion
Tooth enamel can be worn away prematurely. Tooth erosion, which is common in adults but also seen in children and teens, invariably causes irreversible damage.
What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion occurs when the tooth enamel demineralizes due to acid in the mouth. When the pH level in your mouth falls below 5.5, the surface enamel weakens and the tooth becomes more fragile. In the advanced stages of dental erosion, the tooth’s biting edge becomes translucent and cracked, and it changes shape.
The signs of dental erosion include:
- Thinner surface enamel
- Lost sheen
- Yellowish colour
- Sensitivity to cold, heat and sugar
- Change in shape
What causes dental erosion?
Diet is the most common extrinsic cause. Acidic foods and beverages soften enamel and make teeth more susceptible to abrasion. Unfortunately even some healthy foods can negatively impact tooth integrity, such as apples, cheese, strawberries and tomatoes. Acidic drinks include wine, orange juice and soft drinks.
Certain illnesses, like bulimia and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), are intrinsic factors that lead to dental erosion. Dry mouth can also cause dental erosion.
Treatment and prevention
When detected early, erosion can be slowed by adopting healthy eating habits and avoiding soft drinks and acidic beverages. Various treatments, such as veneers, are also available, depending on how serious the situation is. For more advanced cases, the best option is to devitalize the tooth and then restore it using resin or a crown.
Tips and tricks:
- Use a straw for soft drinks and acidic beverages
- Take a sip of water after eating or drinking to rinse your mouth
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to promote enamel remineralization
- Wait an hour after eating before brushing your teeth
To prevent premature enamel degradation, it’s important to eat right and use the proper brushing technique. Regular dental appoints are the best way to have your teeth checked for any signs of erosion.