What is enamel erosion?
The outer layer of a tooth is made up of a substance called enamel. Enamel protects the tooth from acid attacks and other chemical and physical attacks. Enamel erosion occurs when there is a loss of this outer layer due to progressive wear and tear from acid attacks.
Causes of enamel erosion
The enamel is the hardest substance in the body. Yet, it can get eroded due to some of the following causes:
Sugary, starchy foods
Bacteria have an affinity for sugars. Anytime you eat sugary and starchy foods, they combine with the bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Over time, your mouth bacteria breaks down the sugar in sugary and starchy foods to produce acids which eventually break down the enamel.
Sodas and acidic foods
Sodas are high in acids, and they kick off an acid attack that continues for about twenty minutes. These ongoing attacks progressively produce acids that wear down the integrity of the tooth enamel and cause it to wear down over time. This may eventually lead to tooth decay.
Acids alone do not lead to enamel breakdown. Sometimes, stress and anxiety can contribute to enamel breakdown. Although occasional involuntary mouth movements can lead to teeth grinding, consistent and persistent stress leading to progressive grinding of the teeth causes mechanical wear down of the enamel.
A well-hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth. A dry mouth gives room for food particles, plaque, bacteria, and acids to stay on the surface of the teeth, resulting in persistent acid action on the enamel and eventually eroding it away.
How to prevent enamel erosion
The major cause of enamel erosion is the presence of acids in your drinks and diet. Here are simple ways to prevent enamel erosion:
Cut back on sodas
Sodas are not dental-friendly. It doesn’t matter the type of soda, whether sugar or diet soda, both still have the potential to harm your teeth and cause enamel erosion. To preserve your tooth enamel, drink less soda and take more water. Avoid snacking between meals, and brush and floss after consuming soda of any type.
Watch out for acids
Watch out for foods and beverages that are high in acids. When you expose your teeth to high amounts of acids, your teeth lose calcium which is required to maintain the integrity of the enamel. This leads to enamel wear and tear. Limit the consumption of foods and beverages containing a high proportion of acids, and always keep your mouth hydrated by taking enough water.
Brush and floss properly
This is the simplest and easiest oral health tip to keeping healthy teeth. Brush at least twice daily and floss between your teeth at least once a day. When you brush, do so with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing keeps off plaque and remnants of food particles, hence limiting acid actions against your enamel. Flossing completes the process by removing remnants from areas that are not accessible to a toothbrush.
Remineralize and strengthen with proper toothpaste
Calcium and fluoride are the chief nutrients required to maintain strong, healthy teeth. Ensure that your toothpaste is fluoride-based and contains some amounts of calcium to enable you to remineralize your teeth and restore calcium and fluoride in your enamel that are lost to mechanical stresses and acid attacks.
Treatment Methods for Enamel Erosion
It is possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and restore your confidence even if there’s evidence that the enamel of your teeth has eroded. You may consider the following:
Tooth bonding involves the application of composite bonding materials such as resin to your teeth. The aim is to strengthen weakened areas and also help to restore the appearance of your teeth. The dental bonding procedure is quick and also cost-effective.
Veneers are excellent replacements for eroded teeth. Veneers are stain-resistant, and they fix dental cosmetic problems such as discoloration due to enamel erosion. Also, if you have chips and cracks resulting from physical stresses and enamel erosion on the surface of your teeth, veneers can correct that too. They look great, just like a new set of natural teeth.
If your teeth are damaged due to enamel erosion, it is possible to place a crown over the damaged teeth. Dental crowns protect damaged teeth from further damage and restore your teeth’ appearance. Dental crowns have been shown to restore the shape and appearance of damaged teeth even when fillings don’t solve the problem.
Enamel erosion is preventable. If you already have one or more teeth with eroded enamel, that shouldn’t affect your confidence. Schedule an appointment with us at Nexus Dental Associates, where we offer treatments for enamel erosion in Indian Trail, NC.