Tooth Erosion & Treatment Options
Enamel is the hardest material in the human body. This tough coating helps to protect your teeth against damage. Without it, you will experience significant discomfort every time your teeth come into contact with something hot or cold.
This outer layer is not immune to wear and tear despite being described as the hardest substance in the body. It does and will erode without proper maintenance of your oral health.
What causes tooth erosion in adults and how can you treat it? Continue reading to learn more about this condition from Dr. Ogletree’s team, a Pineville, NC Dentist.
What is Tooth Erosion?
Also known as dental erosion, tooth erosion refers to the progressive deterioration of the surface of the tooth. It mainly occurs as a result of exposure of the teeth to acids.
Tooth erosion occurs as a result of bacteria in the mouth, specifically in plaque, make acids from the food you eat. This can enable the depletion of mineral content in the enamel. The hard, outer layer of the tooth, especially the front teeth starts to wear when this happens.
The extent of erosion worsens over time, especially when you do nothing to address the anomaly. Damage to the surface of the tooth is permanent.
Some of the signs of tooth erosion include:
- The appearance of cracks and chips
- Yellowing of the teeth
- The presence of indentation on the tooth surface
- Increased sensitivity to sweets and extreme temperatures
You suffer tooth decay as the destruction of the top layers worsen. When decay spreads to the nerve fibers in the tooth, painful infections or abscess can result.
What Causes Tooth Erosion?
Several factors can cause the teeth to erode. Notable among these are what you eat and drink.
You increase the risk of your tooth enamel eroding when you consume sports drinks, soft drinks and other foods with high amounts of sugar or starches and acidic foods. Examples include citrus fruits, sweets, soda, fruit juices, wine, and energy drinks.
The citric acids wear the enamel down and have a more significant erosive effect any other acids, according to WebMD.
In addition to acids already present in some foods and drinks, bacteria in your mouth also produce acids that contribute to tooth erosion.
Environmental factors are also among the prominent causes of tooth erosion.
Attrition – This is a clinical term for friction that occurs every time you grind or clench your teeth.
Abrasion – By this, reference is to wear and tear that results from habits such as chewing tobacco, biting on bottle caps, or brushing your teeth too hard.
Abfraction – You can suffer tooth erosion as a result of stress fractures, such as cracks from tooth flexing.
Corrosion – Intake of certain chemicals, such as those present in drugs, can cause your tooth to erode. This is due to their high acidic content. Frequent vomiting can also lead to corrosion.
Other possible causes of tooth erosion in adults include:
- Acid reflux disease
- Eating Disorders – Bulimia
- Dry mouth
How to Treat Tooth Erosion
The extent of the erosion problem usually determines what approach to take for treatment.
Some patients receive tooth bonding, especially when damage isn’t yet extensive. This helps both to enhance the look of the tooth and to protect it.
Filling materials, veneers or crowns are often required for cases where the extent of erosion is significant. You could succeed in halting further decay by having a dental crown fixed in place.
In addition to standard treatments, the following tips may also help in fighting tooth erosion:
Use fluoride toothpaste – You can benefit significantly from using this to brush your teeth. Fluoride is a powerful ingredient for promoting stronger teeth. But you should not overuse it.
Chew gum – This can help to improve saliva production to get rid of bacteria and acids. Ideally, you should try to do this after having a meal, although not immediately. Make sure you choose the sugar-free variants, especially one with xylitol.
Take plenty of water – This helps in the same way as chewing gum. Your mouth will have enough saliva to eliminate harmful agents when you drink lots of water.
Reduce acidic foods – You should aim to reduce or moderate your intake of foods and drinks that are known to be acidic. Examples include citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and fruit juices.
Regular visits to the dentist in order to create a dental services care plan can make early detection and preventing tooth erosion from even occurring. This would help significantly in preventing permanent damage.
See Our Dentist in Pineville, NC
Improved Oral Health & Beautiful Smiles
Call the friendly staff at Royce Family Dentistry at 704.275.5442 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ogletree today. We can provide regular cleaning and exams as well as x-rays to ensure quality overall oral health.