Dental erosion is one of the many things we look for during your regular checkup. Dental erosion happens when acids break down the hard materials of your teeth, wearing them away and making them softer. Tooth erosion is not the same as tooth decay caused by bacteria.
This condition isn’t uncommon and can affect both children and adults. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows approximately 45.9% of children and 80% of adults in America exhibit dental erosion. Several factors can lead to this condition, and its consequences can harm your health.
What Causes Dental Erosion?
There are intrinsic and extrinsic acid sources that cause dental erosion. First, an intrinsic source is an acid produced from your stomach. on the other hand, extrinsic acid sources refer to acids you introduce from your diet or lifestyle. If you experience acid reflux or any condition that causes vomiting, the strong acids from your stomach coat your teeth and, over time, weaken the hard, protective tooth enamel.
Consuming acidic drinks and foods such as sodas, citrus juices, sour candies, and even chewable vitamin C tablets can erode teeth. So, we recommend you consider the acidity of everything you eat or drink. Moreover, there are even reports that swimmers who frequent chlorinated pools are prone to erosion because of the pH level of the water.
The Effects of Dental Erosion
As the corrosive acids wear down the tooth’s protective surface, the dentin underneath becomes exposed, giving the teeth a yellow appearance. As the enamel and porous dentin wear away, teeth may become painfully sensitive as the nerve becomes exposed. In addition, any existing fillings may become more prominent as the tooth wears away around it.
The weakened teeth become vulnerable to wear and damage from grinding them or biting something hard. As a consequence, total tooth loss can occur if left untreated.
Prevention and Treatment
Tooth erosion, like tooth decay, is non-reversible. However, we can take care of damage with a variety of treatments, depending on your unique situation. Filings, crowns, and porcelain veneers can stop further damage and restore your smile.
Of course, the best approach to dental erosion damage is prevention. So first, identify any risk factors you may have. Here are a few preventive measures recommended by the experts at Danville Family Dentistry:
- Seek medical attention for acid reflux
- Use a straw to consume acidic drinks, and rinse with water afterward
- Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste
- Chew sugar-free gum and use dry mouth treatment products if you often have a dry mouth
We would be glad to talk to you about any concerns with dental erosion at your next appointment! Visit our dental professionals at Danville Family Dentistry for regular checkups. Call us today at 317-745-4400 to schedule your next appointment.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.