What is Tooth Erosion?

Tooth enamel is the hardest and shiny layer of the teeth. It is the protective layer of the tooth. Enamel covers dentin, the layer that is not as hard as enamel. If the enamel erodes, the tooth/teeth loses its protective layer and becomes more prone to infections. Saliva helps strengthen the teeth and also in the process of remineralization. However, the process reverses if you are consuming more acidic food. In this article, we will discuss about the causes, signs and prevention of tooth enamel erosion.

Signs and symptoms of tooth erosion

    • Sensitiveness or pain when taking hot or cold food/drinks is a common symptom of tooth erosion.
    • During erosion of tooth enamel, the next layer is exposed and discoloration of tooth/teeth occurs.
    • The teeth edges becomes rough and starts cracking and have a rough feeling.
    • It is common during the early stage of tooth erosion that the teeth may have a rounded look.
  • Tips of the front teeth appears to be transparent.
  • Dents or cupping on the chewing surface.

Causes

  • Dry mouth, a condition where there is reduced saliva production
  • Consuming excessive soft drinks along with poor oral hygiene
  • Certain medicines or foot supplements such as vitamin C or aspirin can cause enamel to erode.
  • Fruit drinks especially citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, etc. have more acid that erodes tooth enamel easily.

Prevention

  • Limit eating/drinking acidic food and drinks like pickles and soft drinks.
  • After eating or drinking acidic food or drinks, rinse your mouth thoroughly.
  • Use a straw for drinking soft drinks and fruit juices that contains citric acid so that the liquid won’t come in contact with the teeth.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains appropriate amount of fluoride.
  • Chew a sugar free gum to avoid dry mouth.
  • Monitor your snacking habit. The mouth becomes acidic after eating or drinking.
  • Drink plenty of water so that you flush out left over food particles.

Treatment

  • Dental bonding: Your dentist will apply tooth colored layers on the edges or surface of the tooth/teeth using a composite filling.
  • Dental crowns: Dental restoration/caps/crowns are the best ways to protect tooth/teeth. This is more appropriate solution for the weak teeth which would be more prone to tooth decay.
  • Porcelain veneers: Sometimes the most effective solution for tooth erosion is covering with porcelain veneer. It is most suited for the teeth that are reduced in shape, size and color.

Tooth enamel erosion is the common dental problem that in very rare situation poses a risk, thus it is recommended to visit the dentist regularly so that it can be diagnosed at early stage.


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