Tooth erosion is the erosion i.e. wearing away of the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is a hardest tissue that protects and covers the outside of a tooth. If tooth erosion is not checked and prevented, it can erode the underlying dentin.
Causes of Tooth Erosion
- Many studies have reported a strong link between acidic foods/drinks and dental erosion. This erosion is mainly caused by the excess intake of acidic foods and drinks. Drinks such as fizzy drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks, carbonated drinks and fruit juices contain high amount of acids. Foods such as pickles, yogurt, lemons, citrus fruits and some candies contain high amount of acids. These foods dissolve away the tooth surface i.e. the enamel causing dental erosion.
- This is also caused by some medical problems such as acid reflux disease, bulimia, certain gastrointestinal disorders and decrease in saliva.
Kids and preteens are at greater risk of developing tooth erosion as their enamel is also not fully matured and they are most commonly seen carrying a soda or a cold drink in their hands.
How Tooth Erosion is caused by Acidic Foods?
The enamel of the teeth becomes softer for a while, whenever there is an intake of acidic foods or drinks. The saliva helps the mouth restoring its natural balance by neutralizing the acidity in the mouth. When the acid effect happens often, the mouth does not get a chance to repair itself and the tiny particles of enamel can be easily brushed away, slowly resulting in dental erosion.
Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
It is the most common symptom of tooth erosion. When the enamel starts wearing away, the inner part of a tooth i.e. the dentin is exposed more and more resulting in tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity becomes more to cold, hot and sweet foods.
As the dentin of the tooth is exposed more and more, the tooth looks more and more yellowish color. This happens as the white enamel erodes and yellowish middle layer of a tooth i.e. dentin is exposed.
A tooth starts gaining a rounded look and shape due to tooth erosion.
The edges of a tooth start cracking in case of severity of tooth erosion
How to Prevent Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion can cause mild to severe dental problems such as cracked teeth, indentions in the teeth and severe tooth sensitivity. However you can easily prevent this problem. Here are some key tips to prevent tooth erosion.
- Avoid consumption of acidic foods and drinks too often. Try to have them during mealtimes.
- Avoid keeping, sipping and swishing the acidic drinks in your mouth. Drink them quickly or use straws. This avoids the drinks to come in contact with your teeth.
- After having acidic foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water. It neutralizes the acid in the mouth.
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after intake of acidic foods as they temporarily soften the teeth. Brush after one hour.
- Brush your teeth twice daily and use fluoride toothpaste.
- Visit your dentist twice a year and learn the basics of oral and dental hygiene
Treatment of Tooth Erosion
To treat the early stages of tooth erosion your dentist may prescribe a fluoride treatment and advise you to follow the above preventive measures. In case of severity, your dentist may fit a veneer to your teeth or may treat it by other methods according to the severity.