Do you feel like your teeth are wearing away? Have you been told you have tooth erosion? Tooth enamel erosion can be fairly common and can cause many dental issues. Tooth enamel is the thin outer covering associated with the tooth. Basically the outer shell of the tooth. Tooth enamel is a tough shell and it is regarded as the toughest tissue existing in the human body.
Due to enamel’s translucent nature, you can view light through it. This layer is a tough layer that functions to protect against chemical and physical damages.
The tooth enamel is the first form of defense for your teeth. It acts as the first line of defense against chemical substances that your teeth are exposed to from food and other generated body fluids.
Tooth enamel is usually developed to be tough and prone to wear and tear. The enamel can chip and crack due to some painful activities and strong chemical attacks.
Unlike broken bones, damage done to the teeth enamel is not technically fixable. This is because enamel has no living cells. This essentially means the body cannot fix any chipped or cracked tooth enamel.
Causes Of Tooth Erosion
There are varying causes of tooth enamel erosion. Usually, tooth enamel erosion is caused by the action of acids on tooth enamel. Tooth enamel erosion can also be caused by:
- Excessive drink consumption with a high level of citric acids and phosphoric acids
- Excess consumption of fruit drinks with a high level of acids in the drink
- Xerostomia or low salivary flow which causes dry mouth
- Meals high with sugar and starch content
- Acid reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Medication intake such as antihistamines
- Inherited genetic conditions
- Physical and environmental factors
- An eating disorder that is disruptive to the digestive system & exposes teeth to stomach acid
Signs And Symptoms Of Tooth Acid Erosion
There are varying symptoms of acid erosion on teeth. These signs and manifestations may vary from person to person. This is mainly due to how each persons body fights off the acidic attacks. Some people experience these signs and symptoms as early as possible while some will start getting these signs at a later stage.
Some of the early tooth erosion symptoms experienced may include:
- Increase in level of tooth sensitivity
- Cracks and breaks in teeth & tooth enamel
- Changing of the whitish color of the teeth enamel or discoloration
- Indentations which results in cups appearing on the surface of your teeth.
Untreated teeth enamel erosion can lead to more complications which may include:
- Discolored or stained teeth color
- Increase in teeth sensitivity
- Uneven edges on the teeth
- Different coloration and shinny spots around the teeth. Acid wear on the teeth typically makes the tooth look “washed out” and shiny.
- Increase in the risks of tooth decay
- Wearing away of tooth enamel that leads to slightly translucent teeth
- Cracked or fractured teeth
If any of the above symptoms are noticed, you should contact your dentist immediately. This is to avoid other developed complications that may arise as a result.
How To Treat Tooth Erosion
If you are experiencing teeth enamel erosion to a significant level, your best help is a visit to your dentist so they can help with the enamel erosion treatment.
If tooth erosion has damaged your enamel, your dentist may want to restore the teeth with a dental restoration. This is often done with a dental crown or a resin type of material.
The dentist may chooses resin material and perform a tooth bonding type of treatment. This is capable of covering up discolorations for better protection of your teeth. It is up to you and your dentists to decide the best method of treatment.
For a more intense tooth enamel erosion case, your dentist may go the extra mile to add a crown or veneer on your eroded tooth. This is aimed at preventing decay or cavities in your eroded tooth.
One of the most prescribed ways of treating tooth enamel erosion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The proper oral hygiene practice for your mouth is very important and should be taken care of properly.
This is done through proper oral hygiene and regular brushing and flossing. Monitoring your meal intake for a properly managed diet to reduce the amount of acidic buildup in your body is also important.
In cases where tooth enamel erosion already took place, it can still be prevented from decaying even more by through the exercise of good oral hygiene.
Prevention Of Tooth Enamel Losses
In the quest to prevent tooth enamel erosion for healthy teeth, you must brush and floss regularly. You should also rinse your mouth using an antiseptic and fluoride mouthwash daily. Also, a regular checkup from your dentist at least twice a year is prescribed.
Here are some of the other applicable ways necessary to prevent tooth enamel erosion
- Drastic reduction or elimination of acidic food and drinks included in your diet. This may include carbonated drinks and other high citric acid fruits. It is important that you immediately rinse your mouth with clean water after eating acidic meals or drinks. This lowers the pH in your mouth making the mouth environment less acidic.
- Manage your meals and snacks properly and try to avoid snacking if you are unable to rinse your mouth and brush your teeth regularly
- Chew sugar-free gum to boost your saliva production and flow
- Take in more water if you have low saliva volume and saliva flow
Can You Reverse Tooth Erosion?
Once a tooth is eroded, it cannot be reversed on its own. Meaning the tooth will not rebuild itself. You cannot actually have true enamel erosion repair. If there is a cavity forming on the eroded area, that can possibly be reversed with a little help.
Minerals in the saliva can sometimes reverse tooth decay from enamel erosion. This is only if the tooth decay lesion is very incipient. This means the cavity has to be in the very beginning stages in order to be remineralized. Remineralization can be facilitated with the help of a fluoridated tap water as well as a fluoridated toothpaste & mouthwash.
Fluoride is a well-known material that can stop or prevent the further decay processes of tooth enamel erosion. It can reverse the process if caught at an early stage of decay.
Tooth Erosion At The Gum Line
Tooth erosion at the gum line level is sometimes referred to by people as tooth gum decay. However the gum is not actually decayed. The area of decay is on the tooth enamel right at the gum line. This occurrence is more common in older people than in younger people. It is closely associated with receding gums and gum diseases. Gum diseases like periodontitis are one of the closely known associates of tooth gum decay.
To Wrap It Up
Numerous factors can contribute tooth erosion. Good daily oral hygiene practices are one of the best methods of preventing this. Regular dental checkups are also very important to keep your teeth in good health.
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.