Tooth erosion can be very painful and eventually be very harmful to your teeth. There are many factors that play into this. Here is some more information on the causes, effects , and how erosion can be treated.
Tooth erosion happens when acids wear away the enamel on teeth. Enamel erosion can be caused by the following:
- Improper brushing ( using too much force/ using a medium or firm tooth brush
- Excessive soft drink consumption (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
- Fruit drinks (some acids in fruit drinks are more erosive than battery acid)
- Dry Mouth or low salivary flow (xerostomia)
- Diet (high in sugar and starches)
- Acid reflux disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Medicine (antihistamines, aspirin)
- Environmental factors (friction, wear and tear, stress, and corrosion)
The signs of enamel erosion can vary, depending on the stage. Some signs may include:
- Sensitivity. Certain foods (sweets) and temperatures of foods (hot or cold) may cause a twinge of pain in the early stage of enamel erosion.
- Discoloration. As the enamel erodes and more dentin is exposed, the teeth may appear yellow.
- Cracks and chips. The edges of teeth become more rough, irregular, and jagged as enamel erodes.
- Severe, painful sensitivity. In later stages of enamel erosion, teeth become extremely sensitive to temperatures and sweets. You may feel a painful jolt.
- Cupping. Indentations appear on the surface of the teeth.
When enamel erodes, the tooth is more susceptible to cavities or tooth decay.
To prevent enamel loss and keep teeth healthy, be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with a fluoride and antiseptic mouthwash daily. See your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleaning. You can also try the following:
- Eliminate highly acidic foods and drinks from your diet such as carbonated sodas, lemons, and other citrus fruits and juices. Rinse your mouth immediately with clear water after eating acidic foods or drinking acidic drinks.
- Use a straw when you drink acidic drinks. This helps avoid any liquids from touching your teeth.
- Chew sugar-free gum between meals. This boots saliva production up to 10x the normal flow. Saliva helps strengthen teeth with important minerals.
- Drink more water throughout the day if you have low saliva volume or dry mouth.
- Use fluoride tooth paste Fluoride strengthens teeth, so make sure fluoride is listed as an ingredient in your toothpaste.