Do you have gum sensitivity every time you eat or drink anything acidic? Does the enamel on your teeth become softer for a short while? Tooth erosion is a common and often painful condition.
Tooth erosion is the wearing away of tooth enamel by acid. Enamel loss often starts as a simple annoyance that can grow into a serious dental problem.
Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth and the hardest substance in our bodies. It also protects the tooth from foreign substances that can hurt it, such as sugar and acid. Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that’s visible outside of the gums.
Since enamel is a mineral, it does not grow back when it becomes damaged. A crack or a chip becomes permanent. As hard as tooth enamel is, it can sustain a lot of damage. Erosion ranks as the most common type of tooth enamel damage.
Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, enamel loses some of its mineral content. Saliva cancels out this acid in the mouth and gets it back to its natural balance. Yet if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth. Enamel also insulates the teeth from painful temperatures and chemicals.
The exposed dentin of the tooth suffers discoloration or yellowing of the teeth. The more dentin is exposed, the more yellow the teeth will become.
Sensitive teeth are very common symptoms of tooth erosion. Because the enamel that protects the teeth wears away, leaving exposed dentin.
It is common for teeth to have a rounded look.
A sandblasted look. The tips of the front teeth may also look transparent.
In advanced stages of erosion, the edges of the teeth can start to crack and have a rough feeling.
Little dents, also called cupping, can start to appear on the biting areas of the teeth.
Extreme sensitivity due to nerve exposure and fluid pressure into the dentine.
Acid ranks as the main cause of tooth enamel loss. This substance eats away at tooth enamel, eroding it over time. This leaves the tooth vulnerable and without its main source of protection.
The mouth produces acid in many ways. The most common method comes from the food we eat. But that’s not all — other contributors to acid production in the mouth include:
- Dry mouth
- Acid reflux
- GI tract issues
- Taking acidic medicines such as aspirin or antihistamines
- Low salivary flow
- Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth
- Have acidic food and drinks, and fizzy drinks, sodas, and pops, just at mealtimes. This will reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
- Drink quickly or use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.
- Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help cancel out the acid.
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
- Wait to brush your teeth for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.
Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface. And biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower color than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth can also be more sensitive to heat and cold. or acidic foods and drinks.
Dental erosion does not always need treatment. To prevent the erosion from getting worse. If a tooth does need treatment, it is important to protect the enamel and the dentine underneath. Usually, bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. Yet, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer.
Treatment of tooth enamel loss depends on the problem. Sometimes tooth bonding can protect the tooth and increase cosmetic appearance. The crown may protect the tooth from further decay.