Dental erosion is when enamel deteriorates due to prolonged acid attack. Once the acids, not bacteria, cause the enamel to wear off, the damage is irreversible. Because enamel is the protective outer layer of the tooth, the inner layer of dentine is exposed when the enamel is damaged or completely removed, which can lead to pain and sensitivity.
Dietary acids are the leading cause of dental erosion. When the amount of acid from sugary foods and drinks surpasses the amount of natural acid contained in saliva, the enamel starts getting destroyed. When one consumes sugary contents, the enamel weakens for a while and becomes softer.
The acid in saliva helps to rebalance the mouth by rinsing off excess acids and bacteria as well as mineralizing the teeth. If the teeth are attacked too often, the acid in saliva won’t produce quickly enough for the mouth to repair itself. This is how individuals begin losing the surface level of their teeth.
Some medical problems can cause dental erosion, such as bulimia. Because vomit contains high levels of acid, constantly vomiting wears off the surface level of the teeth over time. Individuals who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux are also at risk of dental erosion since stomach acids travel up to the mouth. Regurgitating after meals is normal so long as it’s no more than one hour. Because saliva production reduces while the body is at rest, individuals who have gastroesophageal reflux while they sleep means their teeth are bathing in acids overnight.
When individuals start noticing hollows in their teeth, that typically indicates signs of dental erosion. Noticeable wearing off of the teeth’s surface layer and biting edges is also an indicator. Once the teeth turn dark yellow that means the dentine layer is starting to show since dentine is darker than enamel. Individuals will know it’s the dentine layer if their teeth become sensitive to cold or hot foods and drinks.
Because loss of enamel is irreversible, there are specific methods individuals can practice to prevent dental erosion.
Whenever one decides to consume acidic foods and drinks, it’s better to do so only once per day. When consuming acidic drinks, it’s better to do so quickly and with a straw so that the liquid avoids contact with the teeth. Finishing a meal with dairy can help cancel out excess acid.
Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal will help speed up salivary production, which in turn rinses and rebalances the mouth. Individuals can also brush their teeth after they consume acidic contents but should do so at least an hour after consumption so that the teeth have a chance to build up their mineral content.
Regular visits to a general and family dentist office in your area will also help to protect your teeth and ensure their longevity throughout your lifetime.
It’s possible for dentists to help treat dental erosion by bonding a filling to the damaged tooth. Because each case is unique, a San Diego dental professional will provide different treatment options that best suit your case
At McBride Dental, we offer a variety of dental treatments to help our patients obtain the healthy mouth they desire. We encourage our patients to visit our office twice a year so we that can perform an in depth evaluation of their mouth in order to help prevent or treat any oral issues. If you’re seeking a dental office to help with your oral needs, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.