What Is Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion is also known as acidic erosion and dental erosion. It is caused by an oral pH that is too acidic rather than balanced or alkali. When this occurs, the acidity weakens and wears down the enamel layer of the tooth, which is the topmost part of the tooth structure. When weakened, the tooth reveals the underlying dentin layer and wears down structurally, causing odd tooth shape.
Note: Tooth erosion and tooth decay are different conditions.
While many people think tooth erosion and tooth decay are synonymous, there are in fact two different dental health issues. Tooth decay is caused by oral bacteria forming plaque and producing acidic substanceswhile feeding on food particles. While both result in damage to tooth structure, the cause of this structural damage is different.
Common Causes of Tooth Erosion
The most common causes of tooth erosion include the following substances:
◦ Carbonated beverages
◦ Sports drinks
◦ Citrus juices
◦ Gastric fluid
Gastric fluid refers to the stomach acid and other digestive fluids. Many times this occurs when someone regurgitates with relative frequency. In fact, tooth erosion is a common symptom associated with bulimia and alcoholism.
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Erosion
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of tooth erosion include yellowing of the teeth (the dentin layer of the teeth is yellow in color), stubbiness or wearing down of the teeth, and tooth sensitivity.
If you should notice the above signs of tooth erosion as well as any signs of alcoholism or bulimia in a loved one, be sure to discuss these matters with that person so that he or she can get the help that they need.
Treatment Options for Tooth Erosion
When it comes to treating tooth erosion, there are different options to consider. For minor erosion that is predominantly cosmetic in nature, the use of dental bonding or porcelain veneers may be considered. For more severe tooth erosion, the best option for care is generally the use of a dental restoration, such as an inlay, an onlay,or a dental crown.
During your consultation with your dentist, you will learn which kind of treatment is right for you, restoring the appearance as well as thestrength of your smile in the process.
Prevention Tips for Fight Tooth Erosion
In order to prevent tooth erosion, the following tips are helpful:
◦ Drink water to stay hydrated and keep you mouth's pH balanced
◦ Minimize your consumption of soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
◦ Use a straw when drinking so harmful liquids bypass the teeth
◦ Wait at least one hour after eating acidic foods to brush your teeth
◦ Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth structure
◦ Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups