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Tooth Erosion: Causes, treatment, and prevention

Your teeth have to withstand a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis.

Tooth enamel protects the outer layer of your teeth from damage, providing a defence against the chemical and physical damage they are exposed to each and every day. But, although it is the hardest material in the human body, tooth enamel can succumb to wear and tear, particularly enamel erosion.

What is tooth enamel erosion?

Tooth enamel erosion, also known as dental erosion, is the loss of tooth enamel – the hard, protective coating that protects the sensitive dentine underneath. Although it is extremely tough, tooth enamel is just a couple of millimetres thick, and it doesn’t grow back. So any damage is permanent.

The main cause of tooth enamel erosion is acid, which eats away and erodes it over time. The erosion of tooth enamel can cause a range of symptoms, most commonly tooth stains and sensitivity.

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What causes tooth erosion?

Also known as acid erosion, enamel erosion is usually caused by eating or drinking anything acidic.

Common causes of enamel erosion include:

  • High sugar foods
  • High starch foods
  • Acidic foods, including fruit
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fruit juices and drinks
  • Excess vitamin C.

However, tooth enamel erosion can also be caused by a range of other factors, including:

  • Low salivary flow
  • Certain medications, including regular use of antihistamines and aspirin
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Teeth grinding
  • Eating disorders
  • Brushing your teeth too hard or too often.

What are the signs of enamel erosion?

There are various signs that could indicate you are experiencing dental erosion, including:

  • Sensitivity
  • Discolouration
  • Cracks and chips
  • Smooth, shiny surfaces
  • Pain
  • Indentations appearing on the surface of the teeth where you bite and chew.

Can tooth erosion be fixed?

Unfortunately, tooth erosion cannot be regrown once it has been eroded. However, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent it getting worse, and there are also techniques your dentist can apply to help treat the enamel erosion.

How to repair tooth enamel erosion

There are two main ways to help protect your teeth if the enamel has been eroded – bonding and crowns.

In cases of mild erosion, bonding can be used to protect the damaged tooth. This technique involves applying a resin to the tooth. Once this hardens, it is bonded to the tooth.

For more serious cases, a crown may be required. This involves capping the tooth with a new one to protect the damaged area, allowing you to eat and drink without pain and protecting the tooth from further decay.

How to prevent tooth erosion

Of course, the best way to protect your teeth from enamel erosion is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

There are a number of steps you can take to help prevent dental erosion:

  • Only consume acidic food and drinks, including fizzy drinks, at meal times
  • When consuming acidic or fizzy drinks, drink them quickly and avoid holding them in your mouth
  • Eat fruit at mealtimes rather than between meals
  • Drink with a straw whenever possible, this will ensure the liquid goes straight to the back of your mouth, limiting contact with your teeth
  • Chew sugar free gum after eating. This will help you produce more salvia to cancel out any acids
  • If you’ve eaten or drunk anything acidic, try to wait for at least an hour before brushing your teeth
  • After brushing your teeth, spit out and avoid rinsing
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Avoid abrasive toothpastes
  • Consider mouth guard if you grind your teeth in your sleep
  • Get regular check-ups.

Transform your smile today

If you’re not 100% happy with your smile, you owe it to yourself to do something about it. Contact us today to discuss life-changing treatment for worn teeth. If you would prefer to talk to us about Invisalign, please call: 01753 833 755.

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