What is dental erosion?
Dental erosion is the loss of enamel caused by acid. Enamel is the hard, protective outermost coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which can cause pain and sensitivity.
How do I do know I even have dental erosion?
Erosion usually shows up as hollows within the teeth and a general wearing of the tooth surface and biting edges. This will expose the dentine underneath, which may be a darker, yellower colour than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth also can be more sensitive to heat and cold or acidic foods and drinks.
What causes dental erosion?
Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly wipe out this acidity in your mouth and obtain it back to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth doesn’t have an opportunity to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel are often brushed away. Over time, you begin to lose the surface of your teeth.
Are there any medical problems that may cause dental erosion?
Bulimia may be a condition where patients make themselves sick so that they lose weight. Because there are high levels of acid within the vomit, this will cause damage to the enamel.
Acids produced by the stomach can come up into the mouth (this is named as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease). People suffering from hiatal hernia or esophageal problems, or who drink an excessive amount of alcohol, can also find they suffer from dental erosion because of vomiting.
Can my diet help prevent dental erosion?
Acidic foods and drinks can cause erosion. Acidity is measured by its ‘pH value’, and anything that features a pH value under 5.5 is more acidic and may harm your teeth.
Fizzy drinks, sodas, pops and carbonated drinks can cause erosion. It’s important to remember that even the ‘diet’ brands are still harmful. Even flavored fizzy waters can have an impact if drunk in large amounts, as they contain weak acids that may harm your teeth.
Acidic foods and drinks like fruit and fruit juices – particularly citrus ones including lemon and orange – contain natural acids that may be harmful to your teeth, especially if you have plenty of them often.
‘Alcopops’, ‘coolers’, and ‘designer drinks’ that contain acidic fruits and are fizzy can cause erosion too.
Plain, still water is the best drink for teeth. Milk is additionally good because it helps to wipe out the acids in your mouth.
Are sports drinks safe?
Many sports drinks contain ingredients that will cause dental erosion as well as decay. However, it’s important for athletes to avoid dehydration because this will cause xerostomia (dryness of the mouth) and bad breath.
What can I do to stop dental erosion?
There are a number of things you can do:
- Have acidic food and drinks, and fizzy drinks, sodas, and pops, just at mealtimes. this may reduce the quantity of acid attacks on your teeth.
- Drink quickly, without holding the drink your mouth or ‘swishing’ it around your mouth. Or use a straw to assist drinks to go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact together with your teeth.
- Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this may help wipe out the acid.
Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This may help produce more saliva to assist wipe out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
- Wait for a minimum of one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This provides your teeth time to create up their mineral content again.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.
- Children up to 3 years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of a minimum of 1000ppm (parts per million). Three-year-olds to adults should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm.
- Spit out after brushing and don’t rinse, in order that the fluoride stays on your teeth longer.
Should I exploit the other special products?
As well as employing a fluoride toothpaste, your dentist may suggest you employ a fluoride-containing mouthwash and have a fluoride varnish applied a minimum of every six months. They’ll also prescribe a toothpaste with more fluoride in it.
How can it be treated?
Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check-ups and advice, your dental team can prevent the matter from getting any worse, and therefore the erosion going any longer. If a tooth does need treatment, it’s important to protect the enamel and also the dentine underneath to stop sensitivity.
Usually, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth is going to be enough to repair it. However, in additional severe cases, the dentist may have to suit a veneer.
Also read: What are the dental veneers?
How much will treatment cost?
Costs will vary, counting on the sort of treatment you would like.
It is important to speak about all the treatment options together with your dental team and obtain a written estimate of the value before starting treatment.