Tooth erosion may not sound like such a big deal, but at Smile Hilliard, we take it pretty seriously. Keep reading to learn why that is and what you can do to prevent erosion, so you keep your teeth in tip-top shape.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Enamel is the thin shell that covers your teeth. Interestingly enough, it’s also the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the dentin, which is the main part of the tooth. Enamel is also what gives teeth their color.
What Is Tooth Erosion?
Tooth erosion occurs when the enamel protecting your teeth is worn away. Once that happens, the enamel can never be replaced.
What Causes Tooth Enamel to Erode?
Unfortunately, tooth erosion can change your teeth’s appearance, while leaving them vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria.
Tooth erosion is caused by:
- Acidic foods and beverages, like citrus fruits, soda, coffee, and fruit juices
- Dry mouth or low saliva flow
- A diet high in sugars and starches
- Brushing your teeth too hard
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Some medications, like aspirin and antihistamines
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Erosion?
Signs of tooth erosion include:
- Yellow Teeth – as enamel wears away and more dentin is exposed
- Sensitivity – because enamel’s protective layer has worn away
- Rounded Teeth – as teeth’s enamel ridges begin to erode
- Transparent Appearance – the tips of the front teeth can look transparent, as the enamel thins
- Cracked Tooth – as erosion reaches advanced stages, the edges of a tooth can start to crack and feel rough, allowing bacteria to penetrate the tooth
- Dents – Dents can appear on the biting surfaces of the teeth, where enamel is worn away inconsistently.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Erosion?
You can prevent tooth erosion by:
- Limiting Acidic Beverages – If you do choose to consume them, use a straw to bypass teeth. Don’t sip on these drinks for hours. For example, when drinking coffee, if you have to add more or put it in the microwave to get it hot again, then you are drinking too slow. Continuous sips of acidic beverages is worse than just gulping it down.
- Chew Sugarless Gum – Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when selecting gum. Sugarless gum will keep your saliva flowing, protecting your teeth. Also look for gum with Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol that neutralizes the effects of harmful bacteria.
- Brush an Hour After Eating Acidic Food – This gives saliva time to naturally wash acids away and re-harden enamel.
How Do Dentists Treat Tooth Erosion?
Your treatment options with tooth erosion vary, depending on how much enamel has eroded. If the tooth erosion is in the early stages, we may just recommend regular six-month checkups and good at-home dental care. A night guard might also be beneficial to protect the thinning enamel from further chips and wear.
How Can I Schedule a Dental Appointment at Smile Hilliard?
If you’re due for a checkup, it’s easy to schedule your next dentist appointment! To do so, just schedule your visit online or call our office at 614.534.0257 to request an appointment. We are located at 6304 Scioto Darby Road in Hilliard and offer early morning office hours for your convenience.