Erosion is not caused by bacteria, so it is different from tooth decay. Dental erosion occurs when acid washes away the hard material that makes up the tooth, causing the surface of the tooth to wear and tear. Tooth erosion is caused by friction, deterioration, stress, and corrosion. Below we will describe each one in detail.
- Teeth grinding. This is natural tooth-to-teeth friction that occurs when you clench or grind your teeth, such as when you grind your teeth. Bruxism, which often occurs involuntarily during sleep.
- Deterioration. This is the physical wear and tear on the tooth surface caused by brushing too hard, improperly flossing, chewing on hard objects such as nails, bottle caps, pens, or chewing tobacco.
- Abfraction. This describes a condition where tooth structure is lost below the gumline.
- Corrosion. Dental erosion can occur to people of all ages. A chemical reaction occurs when acidic components come into contact with tooth surfaces. Tooth erosion is associated with certain medications such as aspirin or vitamin C pills, highly acidic foods, GERD, and frequent vomiting. It can be especially serious in older adults with dry mouths when they can’t produce enough saliva to rinse and neutralize the acid. Dental erosion is common in people who suffer from bulimia, morning sickness, or acid reflux.
Signs You Have Dental Erosion
When dental erosion occurs tooth smooth and shiny surfaces start to appear. Tooth erosion can also make any exposed tooth roots sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. As tooth erosion progresses the surface of your teeth can also appear yellow. Besides color changes, small cracks can appear as a sign of enamel erosion, specifically from grinding teeth or clenching the jaw. Once these cracks appear, cavity-causing bacteria can get inside the tooth.
Why Should I Treat Dental Erosion?
The outer surface of your teeth or the enamel is very hard. However, it has no living cells and cannot repair itself when physically or chemically damaged. This means that the erosion of the enamel is irreversible and the enamel will not grow back. Erosion takes a long time. So even if you already have some level of enamel erosion, you can prevent it from getting worse.
If left untreated, dental erosion can cause the tooth surface to gradually fall off. Loss of tooth structure may require complex and lengthy dental treatment, including fillings, veneers, crowns, and possibly a root canal. When the signs of tooth erosion are recognized, it is important to determine and correct the cause. At Waco Dental, we offer both restorative and cosmetic dental services to repair and enhance every smile, speak to Dr. Martin to find out more.
What are some tips for preventing erosion and rebuilding enamel?
The best way to reduce your risk of enamel erosion is to minimize your intake of acidic foods and beverages such as red wine. You can also drink carbonated beverages through a straw to prevent them from directly touching the enamel. Plus, chewing sugar-free gum can help your mouth produce more acid-neutralizing saliva, keeping you from overexposure.
If you see your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings, be sure to let them know if you experience any of the above symptoms. They can recommend specific products that help relieve discomfort and rebuild tooth enamel to protect the mouth.
Dr. Martin is passionate about providing patients with the tools and treatments they need to optimize their oral health and maintain a great smile. His focus on preventive dentistry allows him to treat minor oral health issues before they lead to more serious problems. If you have any questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, please visit our Waco dental location or call (254) 754-3505